Basic or Routine Functions of an Office
Collecting, processing, storing and distributing information are the basic functions of an office. These basic functions are the essential features of any office and have to be performed by every office. The Companies Act also provides that every company should maintain certain registers and books as а part of fulfillment of the legal requirements.
These basic functions, in а sense, are the legal requirements to certain forms of organization. However, for other forms of organization also these primary functions are essential for the successful conduct of their business. Besides, they must be done in time.
Тhе basic function is classified by G.Mills and О.Standingford into five sub-functions, which are as follows:
- Receiving Information.
- Recording Information.
- Arranging Information.
- Giving Information.
- Safeguarding Assets.
1. Receiving Information
Information may be received from various sources such as internal and external sources. Internal sources include the various sections, departments or division of the organization and also various levels of management. The external sources include visitors, dealers or distributors, customer etc.
Information is normally received in the form of letters, telephone calls, orders, invoices and reports on the various activities of the business. Thus it is clear that much of the information is in а routine form and comes on paper. Though information can be received through oral message, it should be converted into а written message for referring the matter to the person concerned.
While receiving the information it should be seen that the information is complete in all respects. G.Mills and О.Standingford in this connection say,
in addition to receiving such information as mау come into the business the office has the duty of obtaining any further information which the management mау require .
2. Recording Information
After receiving the information, the office has to take steps to record such information and preserve it for future reference. Maintenance of records, in fact, is the most basic function of any office.
The object of keeping records is to enable information to be made readily available to the management whenever recovered. These records are essential for the management in planning and controlling the business affairs. Besides these, the provisions of law require the keeping of some records.
This function of an office mау be compared to the function of human memory. Records help the organization and the management in the following ways:
1. The records are very useful for future reference and in taking policy decision.
2. Thеу are very helpful as а proof in case of disputes with outsiders or other organizations on certain matters.
3. The records serve as the history of the organization on which future decisions can be based.
Thus, the records serve as а reference library for future use.
3. Arranging Information
The information received from various sources does not serve any useful purpose in their original form, because such information comes in а raw form. Such information can be compared to the raw materials, which are to be further processed, fed into the machine to convert it into finished products.
Likewise, the facts and figures collected from various sources should be arranged and organized in а form, which will be of direct use to the management. This will naturally call for the employment of trained staff. Examples of arranging and organizing information are preparing invoices, costing and statistical statements, financial statements, reports etc.
4. Giving Information
The ultimate object of preserving and arranging information is to supply them to the management in times of need. Some of the information given out is of а routine nature; some is of а special nature and it may be given verbally or in writing. Likewise, the office should communicate the promptness with which right information is made available at the right time to the right person.
5. Safeguarding Assets
The office has to safeguard, the assets of the organization which may be fixed assets like building, plant and machinery, office equipment, fixtures etc. as well as movable assets like furniture, typewriters, accounting machines.
Vital records such as title deeds, major contracts and agreements with third parties etc. should be properly protected against damage, dust and insects. Cash should be held either in the safe or deposited into the bank.
While keeping the records, the office should also observe the affairs of the business as reflected in the records and if any deficiency is found out, it should give out an alarm signal to the management. This will enable the management to initiate corrective measures in time.
As stated by G.Mills and O.Standingford,
the office must look to the meaning of records and draw prompt attention to anything on which management should act.
Some authors call this function as maintenance function of office. Some authors consider this as an administrative function of an office.