BUSINESS FUNCTIONS CHART
The following diagram gives most of the main functions that graduates will enter when starting a business career.
- Internal functions are those which are part of the company.
- External functions are those which are supplied by an outside agency.
- Click on any of the jobs in the diagram below to go to more information about them.
- This chart is a simplification. Not all companies can be easily categorised, and some will have specialist functions which are not included here, but is nevertheless provides a useful starting point for graduates considering a career in business.
- Specialised businesses will have functions not mentioned here, for example retailers will have staff working as merchandisers.
- Some companies will not have all the functions listed, for example service and finance companies will not normally have research and production departments.
- Some functions such as Market Research and PR may be internal, external or both. A small company will probably hire an external agency when it needs these functions. A large company may well have in-house market research and corporate PR staff, but will still outsource much of the work that is of a specialist nature.
- Research & Development
Develops products. Designs & conducting experiments & tests. Interprets data. Manages projects. Writes reports. Keeps up to date with new developments.
- Production & Quality
Manages the production process. Plans production schedules. Ensures that machinery, staff & materials are efficiently utilised. Monitors health & safety & environmental issues. Liaises with marketing, research & finance.
Manages all the supply chain processes from raw materials to where the end product is used. Coordinates supply, distribution & storage of goods. Manages transport & distribution centres including drivers & warehouse staff.
Demonstrates & presents products to customers. Manages budgets. Learns about new products. Makes sure that the product meets the customers requirements. Writes tenders & proposals.
Coordinates all the elements involved in successfully promoting & selling a product: market research, pricing, packaging, advertising, sales, distribution. Involves forecasting, budgeting & planning, implementation of plans.
- FINANCE - Management Accountant
Provides the information required for the financial protection & planning of companies. Prepares accounting records & management information.
Designs, implements & maintains computer systems to meet requirements of users. Provides computing support for staff. Maintains databases & networks.
Recruits & selects new staff. Involved with contracts of employment, job descriptions, training, management development, industrial relations & disciplinary matters.
Locates & maintains relationships with suppliers, of products. Negotiates prices, delivery dates & product specifications. Works with managers to anticipate future demands.
- Chartered Accountants
Visits clients as part of an audit team; reviews their business operations & financial records to establish the validity of the company's accounts. Advises on tax liability & other matters.
- Management Consultants
Identifies & investigates, problems concerned with policy, organisation, procedures & methods of organisations. Recommends appropriate action & helps to implement this.
- Recruitment Agency
Matches job-seekers with employers' vacancies. Assesses candidates' skills & employers' requirements.
Liaises with & advises clients on all aspects of marketing communications; presents proposals to clients; manages advertising spend budget; keeps clients up-to-date on their own & competitors activities.
- Market Research
This can be done by the marketing department inside a company, or by an external market research agency. Plans market research projects on behalf of the client. Analyses the problem. Drafts proposals. Prepares questionnaires & survey methods. Briefs interviewers. Analyses data & presents it to client. Prepares reports.
- Public Relations
All aspects of media & public relations for clients: e.g. corporate brochures & exhibition stands. Answers enquiries. Prepares press releases, organises press briefings, conferences & PR campaigns.
Also see our Business Functions Game