For a business to function efficiently, it requires the support of many additional services like legal, administration, secretarial, accounting, and information and communication technology. In this article, we will take a detailed look at these business support functions.
Business Support Functions – Legal Services
Every business needs a legal department to handle any legal issues that can emerge during to course of the business. These issues can include handling lawsuits from dissatisfied customers to drafting waiver forms for employees. Depending on its size, a company either creates a legal department or keeps a lawyer or team of lawyers on a retainer basis.
This ensures that it has access to legal advice whenever the need arises. If a customer believes that an organization is not complying with the word of the law or has a complaint that is not resolved for months, then the legal department can interact with him/her.
Typically, the legal department deals with legal matters only. While sometimes they might assist the organization in drafting important letters, this is not a regular practice. The most important role of the legal department is that of a legal adviser. Every time a company comes up with a new product, the team discusses it with the legal department before marketing it.
Employees also take suggestions from the legal team regarding potential issues ranging from sexual harassment to discrimination in hiring. The department can also play an active role in the preparation of employee manuals ensuring that the new employees are aware of the workplace laws.
In the case of customer complaints, sometimes the legal department gets involved and ensures that the responses are drafted by covering all the legal bases of the company. Further, this department is responsible for representing the company in the event of a legal suit – from within or outside the company. It also takes care of filing patents and other legal documents with the respective official agencies.
Business Support Functions – Secretarial
The Secretarial Division performs the secretarial functions in a business. The officer-in-charge is the company secretary. The functions of a company secretary are as follows:
- The Company Secretary conducts Board Meetings as per the stipulations of the Companies Act. The work involves issuing notices, drafting the agenda, recording the minutes, and preparing reports (or corporate governance reports), etc. for listed companies, joint venture companies, and other group companies.
- Conducts the General Meeting of the shareholders.
- Represents the organization during company registration, name change, shifting the registered office, compounding offense, etc.
- Liaise and manage all procedural formalities regarding restructuring, name change, shifting of the registered office, etc.
Business Support Functions – Accounting
The accounting functions are as follows:
Record Keeping: The main function of accounting is ensuring that they keep a systematic record of all financial transactions – journalling, posting, and preparing the final statements of account. The accounting function is required to report to the interested parties regularly through financial statements.
Protecting Business Property: This function also has to protect the property of the business from unwanted and unjustified use. Therefore, the team must design a system which protects the company’s assets from any such use.
Meeting Legal Requirements: The accounting team must also devise a system which meets the legal requirements. According to law, every business owner must file different types of statements – income tax returns, sales tax returns, etc. The accounting team must offer a base with the help of which different returns and statements are prepared.
Communicating the results: Every business has numerous parties – owners, government, creditors, employees, etc. who are interested in keeping abreast with the results of the company. The accounting team is responsible to communicate the results to all such parties.
Business Support Functions – Administration
By definition, Administration is the universal process of organizing resources and people in an efficient manner so that activities are directed towards common goals and objectives. In a company, the administration department ensures that all office work is completed.
Also, it keeps all paperwork easily accessible. Further, it usually controls most of the external communication of the company. In some organizations, the administration team is also responsible for supplying security for the premises. Apart from the responsibilities mentioned above, the administration functions include:
- Taking care of the department’s human resource functions
- Taking initiatives to foster the economic development of the region
- Coming up with methods of creating more effective plans
- Keeping a check on the inter and intra-governmental affairs of the department
- Developing programs to enhance the region’s resources.
Business Support Functions – Information and Communication Technology
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Department endeavors to enable the business to benefit from the implementation of modern technology into the workspace. The department attempts to increase the efficiency of the business and also the profits. In many organizations, the ICT department focuses on improving business processes along with making them cost-effective.
Some organizations also use information and communication technology to reach out to new customers and/or offer new products or services to the market. The ICT department, usually, cause many changes in the existing procedures and employee tasks. If the company needs a new web-based information system, then it turns to the ICT department who are responsible for innovation as well as implementing the changes.
Solved Question for you
Q1. What are the secretarial functions of a Company Secretary?
The secretarial functions of a Company Secretary are:
- Conducting Board Meetings in accordance with the Companies Act. This includes issuing notices, drafting the agenda, recording the minutes, and preparing reports.
- Conducting the Shareholder General Meeting.
- Liaising, and managing procedural formalities with respect to restructuring, name change, shifting of the registered office, etc.
- Representing the company during company registration, name change, etc.