Functional departments require some clerical service which may be provided by creating a sectional office for each of these functional departments. The objective of the office is to provide clerical service to the operating or functional department. Some office work is invariably performed in the departments them self.
However, for reasons of economy and efficiency, some office activities which are common to all the functional departments are centralized in the general office, under the supervision of an office manager, who is naturally a specialist. Office services common to all sectional offices – duplicating, typing, filing, mailing etc., are centralized in the general office.
The purpose of dividing the office on the basis of functions into sectional or departmental offices is to secure maximum efficiency in work at minimum cost. Each departmental office performs a specific function and the staff becomes specialized in that particular function. The important departments or sections of a modern office and their functions are as follows:
1. General Office
The general office deals with these office activities which are common to all the operating departments, viz, typing, correspondence filing, mailing etc. Generally, the general office of a large organization is divided into the following sections:
(a) Typing pool
Typing pool consists of typists responsible for typing correspondence, preparing statements and doing such other works, relating to typing. When the volume of typing is large, a separate section is set up for looking after the work. This section deals with all typing work of all the departments including the general office.
Copying and Duplicating Section:
It is a well-known fact that as an office expands, there is greater need for copies of documents, bulletins, etc. Copying and duplicating services become an important activity of an office. Sometimes copying and duplicating may be created at a separate section. However, in a small office this section may be combined with the typing section or pool.
(b) Correspondence Section
A separate correspondence section may have to be organized in a large organization. The main function of the correspondence section is to look into different letters, enquiries; memoranda etc. and prepare suitable replies. The work of preparing correspondence is performed by this section for the office as well as for other functional departments.
The correspondence may be internal or inter departmental, where it concerns with the people within the organization. The correspondence is external where it concerns outside people, outside organizations and the Government departments.
(c) Mailing Section
As the name implies, mail department handles incoming and outgoing mails relating to the entire enterprise. All the incoming and outgoing letters, parcels etc. are routed through this department. Chief functions are: (i) To keep record of all incoming and outgoing letters, (ii) To sort out incoming mail and send it to the concerned officials, (iii) Keep accounts of postal stamps, and (iv) To deal with post office.
(d) Filing Section
This department deals with the systematic preservation of all files and records of the business which concern all the departments. The activities include; Receiving papers and documents for filing; their classification indexing and cross referencing; filing the papers; issuing the files to departments; follow-up of the files issue to other departments etc.
(e) Secretarial Section/Department
This department is the secretary’s own department. The main functions of this department are to deal with general administration and co-ordination of the activities of the other departments.
It also deals with the issue, forfeiture, transfer etc. of shares, documents and papers relating to capital, finance and control of business, filing returns with the Registrar of companies, preparation of reports, budgets etc.
2. Purchase Department
Purchasing is an important function of modern office. This department is responsible for different kinds of purchases-assets (machines, plants etc.), consumable items (stationary etc) and raw materials for production etc.
The other functions are: receiving purchase requisition, inviting tenders, placing orders, receiving ordered items, recording purchase details, issues, maintaining ledger and stock positions etc. it also advices the management an different matters concerning purchases and market conditions.
3. Sales Department
This department performs a number of functions
(i) Advertising and publishing the firm’s products;
(ii) Obtains and trains sales force;
(iii) Keeping the selling expenses at minimum;
(iv) Activities relating to exhibition, trade fairs etc., at the appropriate time; and place;
(v) Receiving, recording, replies to customers enquiries, complaints etc.;
(vi) Conduct market research, survey etc.
(vii) Collection of outstanding bills;
(viii) Preparation of sales statistics;
(ix) Dispatching and transporting goods to customers.
(x) Advice the management about sales policy etc.
4. Accounts Department
This department is concerned with the maintenance of books of accounts and the preparation of financial statements. The main functions include the following:
(i) To keep records of all financial transactions;
(ii) To deal with banks;
(iii) To prepare profit and loss account, balance sheet and other financial statements
(iv) To deal with wages, salaries, budgets etc.
(v) To manage cash
In very big concerns, there may be a separate Cash Department which deals with cash receipts and cash payments, but in small organizations, cash section is a part of the accounts section,
(vi) To maintain cash vouchers;
(vii) To maintain cash books, petty cash book etc.
5. Personnel Department
It is an important department of an organization performing a number of functions – recruitment, training, placement and development of staff. They lay down procedures for transfers and promotions of staff. They maintain and keep the records of employees. In short the chief functions of this department are:
(i) To select people for employment;
(ii) To provide training to staff;
(iii) To administer wage and salary policies;
(iv) To keep personal records of staff;
(v) To help the management in the matters of promotion, transfer etc,
(vi) To provide welfare facilities;
(vii) To deal with labour problems and trade disputes;
(viii) To prepare retirement and pension schemes etc.
6. Production Department
The production department deals with work concerning various activities of the production of finished products – Production control, quality control, material handling, control of stocks etc. It also prepares materials scheduled; maintain stock records, job cards, cost accounting records, wage and salary bills etc. It also provides relevant data for production planning and budgeting.
7. Export Department
A large organisation exporting goods on a large scale may have a separate export department to look after the exports of the organisations. Its function includes obtaining export orders, keeping liaison with importers, preparing export invoices, arranging insurance and shipment of goods, etc.