What Is a Back Office? (Definition, Importance and Roles)

Updated February 3, 2023

An office employee signs papers on a desk near a laptop.

In business, the back office provides important functions that contribute to the success of the organization. These back-office processes refer to non-client-facing tasks that keep the business running and provide support for front-end operations. Understanding these components can help improve business processes or help you identify a back-office role that's right for you.

In this article, we define the back office with a definition and information about its importance and common back-office jobs.

What is the back office?

The back office is the part of a company's office that isn't client-facing. It's essentially the department that provides support to the front-office positions with their various responsibilities. Employees in the back office handle several administrative tasks, including maintaining records, data management and strategy.

Depending on the company or industry, employees in the back office can also provide their expertise in accounting, finance, information technology and development fields. While the back-office employees don't interact with a company's clients, they do interact with those working in the front office and require communication and collaboration skills.

Related: 6 Common Types of Back-Office Jobs (With Job Titles)

How does a back office work?

The back office of a company provides support to the client-facing roles in the front office. Employees that work in the back office perform tasks related to a company's business operations. Therefore, although the back office doesn't interact with a company's clients, they perform many essential business operations. They provide the front office with the ability to execute their various client-facing tasks effectively.

Related: 8 Must-Have Administrative Assistant Skills

Why are back-office roles important?

Back-office roles are important because they provide the support and technical needs for other processes. When back-office operations run efficiently, it can improve the success of the company. It also boosts productivity and helps keep costs low.

Back-office roles also ensure that all company data and information remains secure and accurate. Additionally, back-office roles can identify areas for improvement for the business overall by monitoring costs, efficiency, resources and security.

Related: 7 Valued Administrative Skills That Can Help Your Career

10 back-office jobs

Several roles make up a company's back office. Every company's back office looks different and can vary depending on the industry. Here are some examples of back-office jobs, with information about their primary responsibilities and average salaries:

1. Human resources assistant

National average salary: $45,899 per year

Primary duties: Human resource assistants are responsible for scheduling appointments, maintaining records and welcoming new company employees. Also, they handle payroll and maintain attendance records. Human resources assistants typically provide support to the human resources manager or teams by performing various administrative tasks. Individuals in this role require skills in administration, communication and organization.

Read more: Learn About Being an HR Assistant

2. Information technology specialist

National average salary: $48,104 per year

Primary duties: Information technology specialists are tasked with various software, database and network management duties. They manage network groups, install software, manage a company's information technology systems and more. Information technology specialists can also provide technical support to other employees to troubleshoot technical issues or develop more efficient systems.

Read more: Learn About Being an IT Specialist

3. Staff accountant

National average salary: $56,458 per year

Primary duties: Staff accountants maintain financial records, analyze accounts and prepare general ledger entries. They require skills in math, communication and attention to detail. The staff accountant may also create budgets or reports and communicate with other strategists or executives about spending and revenues.

Read more: Learn About Being a Staff Accountant

4. Compliance officer

National average salary: $81,819 per year

Primary duties: Compliance officers handle all compliance issues for a company. This means they ensure that all individuals and the company itself adhere to any contractual obligations, laws or regulations. Compliance officers typically work under the supervision of the chief executive officer. They require a knowledge of compliance standards and policies and regulatory issues and have strong communication skills.

5. Finance assistant

National average salary: $65,454 per year

Primary duties: A finance assistant is responsible for supporting the finance department within a company. They perform many duties, including data entry, balance sheet creation and making sure financial records are up to date. They also reconcile account balances, maintain payrolls, and verify calculations. Finances assistants are detail-oriented, well-organized and analytical.

6. Data analyst

National average salary: $65,820 per year

Primary duties: Data analysts work to interpret, analyze and implement data collection systems. They also develop reports and support the data warehouse. Data analyst roles require candidates to be strong mathematicians, display good problem-solving skills and be able to accurately analyze data.

Read more: Learn About Being a Data Analyst

7. Security operations manager

National average salary: $68,227 per year

Primary duties: Security operations managers implement various security policies, protocols and procedures for company protection. They also train security guards and monitor the budget for all security operations. Security operations managers require strong analytical, problem-solving and interpersonal skills to perform their job successfully.

8. Financial analyst

National average salary: $71,498 per year

Primary duties: Financial analysts are responsible for a variety of financial tasks on behalf of external or internal financial clients. Their duties include determining operational costs, comparing data, maintaining a database and increasing company productivity. The role requires them to be excellent mathematicians and possess strong analytical skills.

Read more: Learn About Being a Financial Analyst

9. Operational manager

National average salary: $75,452 per year

Primary duties: Operational managers work within a company's management team to develop and implement several operational policies and procedures. They also assist the human resources department with its recruiting efforts and ensure that the company is working at peak performance capability. Operational managers require leadership abilities and an understanding of policies and legal and regulatory documents.

10. Risk analyst

National average salary: $77,094 per year

Primary duties: Risk analysts oversee investments and determine the potential risks involved in a company's investment portfolio. Based on their evaluation of these investments, they can provide companies with recommendations to help limit future risks. Risk analysts use strong analytical, strategic and negotiation skills.

For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link(s) provided.

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