http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=945811Any difference between "Company" and "Firm" ? 1. 6th May 2008, 03:49 AM #1 Join Date Jul 2006 Location Shanghai, China Native language Mandarin Posts 59 Hi, The longman dictionary says that a firm is "usually a small company", but Ive always met with phrases like "law firm", "accounting firm" or "consulting firm", many of which are actually not "small" at all. So it seems that there is some other differences, hope someone can give me an insight. Thanks! 2. 6th May 2008, 03:59 AM #2 Join Date Mar 2006 Location USA (W. Pennsylvania) Native language American English Posts 4,639 It is customary, I believe, to associate professions with the word "firm" (as in the examples you cite); however, you generally wouldnt say, "a clothing firm" or a "grocery firm." Im sure there are other differences/distinctions as well, but I cant think of any right now. Others will, doubtlessly, be more helpful. 3. 6th May 2008, 05:01 AM #4 Join Date May 2006 Location
California Native language English, USA Posts 22,462 Originally Posted by Pidginboy But, in India or UK or USA, a company is necessarily registered under Companies Act or the like, of the respective country. Whereas, a firm need not be registered if it is a small body started with the assistance of a few family members. In the U.S. a corporation is registered, but a company is probably not. "Firm" seems to be used with professional service-oriented businesses here, as Joelline pointed out, but I dont think theres any restriction that says you cannot use it for any business.4. 6th May 2008, 07:34 AM #6 Join Date Dec 2006 Location Minneapolis Native language USA English Posts 3,760 [quote=JamesM;4984160]In the U.S. a corporation is registered, but a company is probably not. "Firm" seems to be used with professional service-oriented businesses here, as Joelline pointed out, but I dont think theres any restriction that says you cannot use it for any business.[/quote] In Minnesota,a company need not be registered unless it wants to protect its trade name. In that case, the name of the firm may be placed in the trade name registry of the city where they do business.5. 6th May 2008, 01:30 PM #9 Join Date May 2008 Native language English
Posts 14 In British English the words may be used interchangeably in general language. However, there is a technical, legal difference. A firm is an unicorporated business, usually a partnership. A company in an incorporated business, either a limited company or a public company.6. 6th May 2008, 03:58 PM #10 Join Date May 2006 Location California Native language English, USA Posts 22,462 Originally Posted by berndf What distinguishes a firm from other forms of partnership or non-incorporated businesses is that it is know and/or registered under a trade name. The term is derived from Italian firma=signature. @JamesM: The difference between a corporation or limited liability company and other forms of business is that corporations or limited liability companies are legal entities in their own rights (a legal or juristic person) independent of their owners. In the US, the secretary of states offices of the individual states maintain a register of all businesses, whether incorporated or not. I dont believe this is correct. Ive had my own company in California for 25 years now. Had I incorporated I would have had to register with the Secretary of State under a unique legal name, but I am simply doing business under a fictitious business name (a DBA) and so I am only required to register with the local county office. Perhaps the state amalgamates these local county filings, but it is a very different process and a very different "register" than the register of corporations. In California, at least, Im sure that corporations are registered with the state, but companies do not have to register with the state directly here in California, at least not for their name. There can be a hundred distinct "Joes Body Shop" auto repair companies in California, all with separate owners doing business as "Joes Body Shop." There can only be one corporation registered in California with the name "Joes Body Shop", and the corporation has a right to assert its ownership of that name, taking precedence over any DBAs, if it chooses to. I think there is a difference here in the use of the word "company" in US English and British English.
7. 6th May 2008, 06:29 PM #13 Join Date Mar 2007 Location Spain Native language U.K. English Age 35 Posts 3,590 In the UK at least, firm seems to be used most for legal/consultancy/accountancy businesses, as ashbury says. Otherwise we usually say company. I think this relates to James Ms and Goldenblacks ideas.