Categorized | Back Office

Back Office 5.0

In an earlier chapter, we distinguished a business, as separate from a hobby, as a venture that was about making money. You probably suspected at the time, correctly so, that we were oversimplifying just a tad. You probably would have said that businesses require all sorts of functions carried out by employees―even if all the “employees” are essentially one person . . . the business owner. That’s right, but businesses require all those functions to . . . you guessed it, make money. Money-making requires businesses to perform a variety of tasks regularly and accurately that a hobby doesn’t require. Much of what we call the back office is concerned with these tasks.

Outside of making, marketing, and selling your goods and services, your business makes and manages money through a complex set of support tasks collectively known as the back office or business processes. These are tasks like keeping records, sending invoices, paying invoices, hiring people, paying people, mailing letters, and answering telephones. Before you say, “I can do that,” keep in mind that corporations spend billions of dollars just on these functions alone. Something as simple as answering the phones can eat up millions of dollars at the corporate level and require super-sophisticated technologies and operations. As your business grows and makes more money, the back office support work grows as well.

Since you didn’t go into business to spend your days typing, bookkeeping, answering phones, or fussing over the millions of support tasks that sprout like weeds throughout your business, you will end up hiring people to do these functions for you. You have two roads to take: you can hire people directly and put them on your payroll (thus creating more tasks, like payroll and human resources, that require doing and more employees to do them) or you can outsource these jobs. Outsourcing means hiring another company to perform essential business tasks for your business, like accounting. If you hire a firm based in another country, usually because it’s cheaper, you are off-shoring. Since more and more corporations are outsourcing and off-shoring more and more of their back office, you’ll be pleased to know that you, too, can easily outsource these functions by simply firing up your Web browser.

The chapter begins with general administrative outsource services that provide turnkey back office solutions. These are the “all-in-one,” one-stop, one-shop packages that can help minimize your outsourcing headaches. The remainder of the chapter drills down to specific support functions, such as word processing, data entry, human resources management, and project management. We end the chapter by discussing the most important back office function: communications―answering the phone, calling people, and other ways of keeping in contact.

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