Contents 2
The Business Environment 3-6
Workplace Organisation 7-21
Human Resources 22-30
Communication 31-34
ICT in the Business Environment 35-37
Databases 38-47
BaCS Glossary 48-56
Bacs Exam Tips 57-58
Composing Letters 59
Letter Layout Sample 60

The Business Environment

A business is any organisation that produces or supplies goods or services.

Businesses have many different aims and objectives.

An aim is a long term goal of the business, and one measure of the success of a business is if it achieves its aims.

Here are the main examples of business aims:

Provide charitable/voluntary Make a profit Be highly competitive Maximise sales

Environmentally friendly Growth/expansion/
Increase market sales

Survival (continue to trade) Improve product quality Provide goods/services

An objective is a target pursued by the organisation to help it achieve its aims. They are goals that the business has set itself over the next three to five years.

Objectives should also have a timescale over which they should be achieved.

Here are some examples of business objectives:

Improving a product or service Selling more than a competitor

Producing new goods or Selling more products than in a
providing new services previous year

The way in which businesses are organised

An organisational chart is a plan showing how the roles within a business are arranged to enable the business to meet its objectives.

The following is a simplified organisational chart which has 5 levels of hierarchy (authority): (the number in brackets is the number of employees at that level)

Managing Director (1)

Directors (3)

Managers (9)

Supervisors (27)

Operatives/workers (81)


A stakeholder is an individual or group of people who have an interest in
the business.

External stakeholders Internal Stakeholders

Government Agencies Managers

Local Community Employees

Pressure Groups Shareholders
(in a Plc or Ltd)

Society Customers

Trade Unions Bankers

Competitors Suppliers

Main functions (departments) within a business:

The Human Resource department exists to recruit the best employees and to make sure they work effectively and safely, in assisting the business to meet its objectives.

Negotiating with Trade Unions Recruitment & Selection of staff

Providing good working conditions (H & S) Redundancies/dismissals

Training & development

The Finance department manages the money for the business. The department helps the managers to plan for the future.

Obtain capital from external sources Records all financial transactions
Eg. Loans

Pay wages/salaries to employees Prepare accounts

The Administration department provides support services to the other departments within the business.

Health & Safety ? monitoring activities, Clerical work ? organising meetings,
Updating staff about changes, ensuring mail, dealing with enquiries.
display of rules.

Cleaning & maintenance ? repairs, Security ? Guards, staff, identities &
Cleaning & decorating. issuing passes.

The Production department deals with bringing together all the resources needed to produce the product/provide the service.

People Buildings & land

Materials Equipment

The Marketing department helps to discover and meet the needs and wants of consumers.

Market research ? questionnaires, surveys, interviews etc..

Promotion ? advertising, special offers, Public Relations.

The Sales department tries to achieve sales by:

Internet sales ? using the Web to Selling products to shops
Sell products or services

Personal selling ? in person/over the phone

In larger businesses there may be other departments, such as the Legal, Customer Services, IT, and Research and Development departments.



The nature and needs of the organisation and the demands of the task influence the type of office and layout.


CELLULAR OFFICE ? one person in an office, it is one of a number of offices in a building

provides privacy difficult to supervise staff
can be locked- good for security takes up more space
quiet working environment individual heating and lighting therefore more expensive
fewer distractions less easy to talk to colleagues
a status symbol young staff in with senior members

OPEN PLAN ? one large working area broken down into smaller areas

several grades of employees noisier ? more distractions
supervision easy less security
communication easier lighting heating and ventilation more difficult to regulate
layout easily altered managers may feel put out
work flow faster
centralised services i.e. reprographics

CENTRALISED OFFICES ? common to all departments i.e. post room, accounts dept and wages

specialist skills grouped together not the same level of contact ? slower communication
bulky noisy equipment together pull on the resources i.e. if everybody using the resources it reduces the efficiency
no need to provide for all departments therefore cheaper lighting heating and ventilation more difficult to regulate

Cellular and Open Plan Offices ? Extra Information


This is usually for one person and is a small to medium sized room with a door and windows (where the room contains an outside wall). It is called a' cellular' office because it is one of a number of 'cells' or units within the building.


1. They provide privacy for the user who may need to discuss confidential issues with others.
2. They can be locked, providing security for documents or money when the office is not staffed.
3. They provide a quiet working environment where there are few distractions from other workers.
4. They can confer status on the occupant as they