Statistics Explained

Glossary:Business functions

Business functions are the activities carried out by an enterprise; they can be divided into core functions and support functions.

Core business functions are activities of an enterprise yielding income: the production of final goods or services intended for the market or for third parties. Usually the core business functions make up the primary activity of the enterprise, but they may also include other (secondary) activities if the enterprise considers these as part of its core functions.

Support business functions are ancillary (supporting) activities carried out by the enterprise in order to permit or to facilitate the core business functions, its production activity. The outputs (results) of support business functions are not themselves intended directly for the market or for third parties.

Support business functions can be further subdivided into:

  • distribution and logistics: transportation activities, warehousing and order processing;
  • marketing, sales and after-sales services: market research, advertising, direct marketing services (telemarketing), exhibitions, fairs and other marketing or sales services; also included are call-centre services and after-sales services such as help-desks and other customer support services;
  • information and communication technology (ICT) services: information technology (IT) services and telecommunication (IT services including hardware and software consultancy, customised software data processing and database services, maintenance and repair, web-hosting, as well as other computer-related and information services, but excluding packaged software and hardware);
  • administrative and management functions: legal services, accounting, book-keeping and auditing, business management and consultancy, human resources (HR) management (e.g. training and education, staff recruitment, provision of temporary personnel, payroll management as well as health and medical services), corporate financial and insurance services; also included are procurement functions.
  • engineering and related technical services: engineering and related technical consultancy, technical testing, analysis and certification; also included are design services;
  • research & development (R & D): research and experimental development.

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