Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Agent


Quick Summary of Agent

An individual or firm authorized to act on behalf of another (called the principal), such as by executing a transaction or selling and servicing an insurance policy. The agent does not assume any financial risk in the transaction, as a dealer would.

What is the dictionary definition of Agent?

Dictionary Definition

A person authorized to act for and under the direction of another person when dealing with third parties. The person who appoints an agent is called the principal. An agent can enter into binding agreements on the principal’s behalf and may even create liability for the principal if the agent causes harm while carrying out his or her duties.

  1. One who exerts power, or has the power to act; an actor.
  2. One who acts for, or in the place of, another (the principal), by authority from him; one entrusted with the business of another; a substitute; a deputy; a factor.

A person appointed by another person, known as the principle, to act on his or her behalf. Company Directors are agents of the shareholders (the principal).

Full Definition of Agent

In business, an agent is a representative who acts on behalf of other persons or organisations.

One who is authorized to represent and act on behalf of another person or business (called the PRINCIPAL) in transactions involving a third party. Unlike an employee who merely works for the principal, an agent works in place of the principal.

Agents have three basic characteristics:

  1. they act on behalf of and are subject to the control of the principal;
  2. they do not have title to the principal’s property;
  3. they owe their duty of allegiance to the principal’s orders.

Examples of Agent in a sentence

A commercial agent manages the business affairs of company.

An estate agent is a person who buys and sells buildings and land for others.

Our agent has informed us that you still owe us the sum of £5469.

In this instance, you can purchase it directly, rather than through an agent.

Our agent in Paris deals with all European sales.

Paul takes several phone calls from his agent

Which party will agent the deal?

A VAT-registered landlord may employ a managing agent to handle the collection of rent and to manage the maintenance of the property.

JC Watts acts as an agent for the sales department.
The agent put me on hold whilst she discussed the matter with her colleagues.
Progress should be carefully monitored, once a suitable agent has been found.

Related Phrases

corporate agent
escrow agreement
placement agent
shareholder services agent
agency by ratification
implied authority
settlement agent
confirmed letter of credit (L/C)
sole agent
scope of authority
disbursing agent
shareholder services agent
designated agent
universal agent
recognised agent
sole agent
gratuitous agent
captive agent
independent agent

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Agent. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
August 08, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Agent. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: August 08, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Agent. Retrieved August 08, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Agent are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 30th October, 2021 | 0 Views.