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What's in a Functional Area?

If you're like most small business owners, as you've grown people have taken on whatever jobs made sense given their interest, skills, and possibly office location. As the company grows, that type of organization becomes less efficient, and the business must evolve to a more structured approach to roles and responsibilities. At that point, it is helpful to understand the functional areas of a business.



Thinking in terms of functional areas is very useful, because it helps us segment effort and accountability in a business. But not everyone knows this term or uses it the same way. Here is a quick reference list to what we consider to be a basic functional area structure:



  • Accounting
  • Bookkeeping
  • Financial planning and reporting
  • IT
  • Hardware and network management
  • Application management (business systems including accounting systems, CRM, sales force automation, point of sales systems, manufacturing systems, warehouse systems, data asset management systems, email and communications systems, etc.)


Sales & Marketing

  • Outside and inside sales roles and sales administration and support
  • Retail sales
  • Marketing analysis and planning
  • Promotional development, from concept through execution (graphics, copy, etc.)
  • Public relations



  • Human resources management
  • Purchasing, inventory control, and supply chain management
  • Manufacturing
  • Warehouse management


Thinking about your business in terms of functional areas lends structure and specificity to your planning.