People who are employed to work in back office positions primarily deal with operational issues that are essential to the day-to-day running of the company or government entity that they work for. Back office positions range from executive roles to entry-level jobs. Employees who work in payroll, human resources (HR), information technology (IT), and accounting are all typically classified as back office employees.
The payroll department of a firm or government entity keeps track of the hours worked by employees and has the responsibility for disbursing staff wages on payday. Payroll positions include data entry clerks who input employees' hours and accounting clerks who print paychecks or arrange for employees' funds to be directly deposited into their bank accounts. A departmental manager overseas the daily duties of data entry and accounting clerks. The manager also hires new staff members and, if necessary, terminates employees who perform poorly.
Most major companies have an HR department which is presided over by a director or manager. The director has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the firm complies with employment laws. An HR manager must generally have a college degree in business or a related field. Other back office positions commonly found within the HR department include recruiters, who are responsible for advertising vacant job openings and conducting interviews with prospective employees. Major firms often require HR team members to have college degrees, but at smaller firms recruiters and HR consultant jobs often have entry-level positions.
The accounting department of a firm employs clerks who balance the company's accounts and in some instances make or accept payments on the firm's behalf. Every department within a company or government has an annual budget, and the accounting department work with departmental managers to ensure that the firm as a whole stays within its operating budget. Major firms employ certified accountants to regularly conduct internal audits to ensure that there are no irregularities in the company's accounts. The accounting department is normally managed by an executive who may sit on the board of directors.
Most firms rely heavily on computers, so the IT department of a company has a crucial role to play in the day-to-date operations of a firm. Back office positions in the IT department typically include help-desk clerks who assist employees with resolving minor technical issues related to their computers or communications equipment. Computer programmers, who normally have college degrees, develop new software for the firm and conduct training sessions to teach other employees how to use new communications equipment and software. Senior programmers or IT team members can transition into a department manager position.