What is business? A business includes all the activities involved to create and sell a product or service. The most important functional areas of business include: accounting, finance, marketing, production/operations, and human resources management.
Accounting is a field of business that records and reports the flow of funds through a firm on a historical basis and produces important financial statements such as balance sheets and income statements. It also produces forecasts of future conditions such as projected financial statements and financial budgets, and evaluates the firm’s financial performance against the forecasts.
The finance area of business supports a firm in decisions concerning the financing of the firm’s business and the allocation and control of financial resources within the firm. Major activities of finance include cash and investment management, capital budgeting, financial forecasting, and financial planning. The cash and investment management activities forecast and manage the firm’s cash position and short-term and other securities. The capital budgeting activity involves evaluating the profitability and risk of proposed capital expenditures. The financial planning process evaluates the present and projected financial performance of the firm and projects the firm’s future financial needs.
The marketing function of business is concerned with the planning, promotion, sale, and distribution of existing products or services in existing markets, and the development of new products and new markets in order to better serve existing and potential customers with quality products and services. It is also responsible for customer relationship management, product planning, pricing, advertising, after-sale service, and market research and forecasting.
The production/operations function focuses on the management of all activities concerned with the planning and control of the processes producing goods or services. These activities include purchasing of raw material and parts, product design, inventory, manufacturing processes, facilities location and layout, quality control, and such other logistics as distribution and transportation.
The human resource management function involves the recruitment, placement, evaluation, compensation, and development of a firm’s employees. With the main goal of the effective and efficient use of a firm’s human capital, the human resources management function supports planning to meet the personnel needs of the business, development of employees to their full potential, and control of all personnel policies and programs.
While each of the aforementioned functional areas within a firm used to operate somewhat independently with its own objectives and resources, information and other computer technologies have integrated all business functions within the firm and created something called “an Internet worked e-business enterprise.”