Front office staff members tend to get the attention, because they are the ones customers see when they pay for items at a register or ask for assistance in a place of business; back office staff members are not nearly as visible, but they are just as important. Some of the general duties that back office staff members perform are clerical in nature, including answering phone calls, but these are usually from other staff members. The three major departments that generally make up a back office are the technology department, which works on creating new computer programs and maintaining the programs already in use; the accounting department, which handles a business’s finances; and human resources.
While most staff members are highly trained professionals, many workers in this area will perform general clerical tasks. They may copy documents, fax and email other staff members or managers, and organize files. Some also will answer phones, but these calls are rarely from consumers; more typically they are from other staff members or management. If a back office worker has to answer phone calls, then he or she also may be in charge of transferring calls from one staff member to another.
Businesses generally need technology, such as programs that control cash registers, database programs, and systems to order products from manufacturers or warehouses. The technological section of the back office staff is charged with two common tasks. These staff members usually have to work at modifying and improving current systems, so the business can function quicker. Another common task is maintaining the current technology by providing support to front or middle office staff if the technology is not working properly.
If a back office staff worker belongs to the accounting department, he or she is responsible for managing finances. Many of these workers perform payroll duties, such as ensuring that everyone is paid fairly and verifying hours worked. These staff members also will create financial reports to show other staff members whether the company is going up or down, and they ensure all vendors are paid.
Back office staff members who belong to the human resources department will help employees if there are any complaints or problems with a job. These workers also are in charge of hiring and, sometimes, training new employees. If employees are engaged in unethical behavior, it is up to these workers to issue warnings, and they will be responsible for firing employees who do not heed warnings.