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What Are the Main Types of Back Office Operations?

C.B. Fox
C.B. Fox

Both large and small businesses require employees to take care of back office operations so that these companies can run. The main types of these operations include accounting, human resources, Internet technology services, customer service, data management, and research and development. These types of operations are referred to as "back office" because they used to be completed in the back part of an office, out of sight of customers. Nowadays, back office operations can be completed on site, at separate facilities, or outsourced to companies that specialize in back office work.

One of the tasks dealt with by back office staff is the management of a company’s financial resources. Financial back office operations include a variety of different tasks, including accounting and bookkeeping, budgeting, investing, and acquiring additional capital for a business to use. Some of these jobs are frequently hired out to independent contractors or specialty firms though many large corporations keep their own staff of financial experts.

Back office staff working.
Back office staff working.

Internet technology services are are a back office operation that has become vital in the 21st century. Specialists in this field maintain any servers on the property and make sure that employees are able to remain connected to the Internet at all times. They may also maintain websites, software, databases and any information that the company has made electronic.

Though customer service representatives do work directly with clients, these positions are still considered to be back office operations. These employees talk to clients over the phone or Internet and are usually charged with helping customers to work out problems that they have with the company’s products or services. Often, these services are outsourced to back office companies that specialize in call centers.

Research and development is another common back office operation. People who work in these jobs may be scientists, technologists, engineers, or other professionals that are able to come up with new products and ideas and create prototypes of them. This job is different than manufacturing, which is another of the back office operations, as the research and development team do not produce products that are ready for the public.

Another of the types of back office operations seen in nearly all businesses is human resources. People in these positions deal with the management of other employees and handle the payroll. They may also help solve problems that arise between employees, helping the business to run smoothly and efficiently.

Discussion Comments


@miriam98 - Human resources departments can be big or they can be small. Would you believe that we have a dedicated, full time recruiter at our company?

We have a midsized company and are experiencing tremendous growth at the moment. For that reason we have a full time recruiter on staff. Most smaller businesses (and even some larger one) choose instead to use the recruiting services of a third party organization.

But we are looking to add at least a hundred positions and so our human resources department is fully staffed. It’s kind of a nice position to be in frankly, especially when you hear talk of so much downsizing.


@SkyWhisperer - I’d love to work in research and development. You get to experiment and try out new things.

What I like about it is that there is no immediate pressure to produce a final product. That gives you a lot of liberty in the different approaches you want to take to solve a problem.

That’s why a lot of research and development groups work with local universities, where they can explore the theoretical aspects of the work that they do. The applications and the eventual products come later.


I’m surprised to hear that customer service is considered a back office operation. I’m not clear what the distinction is between their communication with clients and that of sales personnel (who are front office).

Perhaps the customer service people are there simply to help, not to sell, and that’s the key difference. At any rate we have a call center where we work and so I listen in on customer call talk all day long.

Our agents issue orders and also follow up if there is an outstanding balance with a customer account. It takes a lot of tact and diplomacy to do the job; some customers are not that easy to deal with.

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      Back office staff working.