Corporate services cover a wide range of administrative functions, such as accounting, human resources, and legal services. Regardless of the size of any particular business and the industry in which it operates, to be successful it must use corporate services. Generally, these services may be provided by the company's own internal departments, or they can be outsourced to third-party providers.
Businesses must maintain accurate financial records to be successful and, in many cases, to comply with various regulatory laws. Often, a large corporation will provide this set of crucial corporate services to its subsidiaries, while smaller companies may hire a certified public accounting firm to assist them. Accounting generally includes maintaining accurate books and records on a regular basis by reconciling checking and savings accounts, recording inventory and sales, and completing other basic bookkeeping functions. Accounting corporate services also include preparing year-end financial statements, weekly or biweekly payroll, and year-end employee and independent contractor tax forms. Accounting corporate services also includes the preparation of a company's annual tax returns.
Human resources may form an important part of corporate services. Human resources may generally include a wide spectrum of functions, such as hiring, compensation analysis, and continuing education. Small businesses often use third-party recruitment firms to screen potential employees, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process, while larger businesses typically use internal human resources departments for this function. Large corporations save money by consolidating human resources services. Similarly, analyzing compensation of an organization's employees annually is an important corporate service that can be either centralized or outsourced to keep a company competitive.
When companies work to make decisions regarding their future plans, such as expansions, new product lines, or employee terminations, they often need legal advice to help them make the right decision. Whether they use outside legal counsel to provide guidance or maintain a cadre of on-staff attorneys, it is essential that they consult with legal advisers when making any large decisions that may amount to a fundamental change. This is perhaps the most important and sensitive of all corporate services, since effective use of legal counsel means reducing the risk of engaging in costly litigation.