HR, Admin, Finance, and Legal - What Do They Specifically Do?

For many international students and overseas returnees, studying majors like HR, Management, Finance, Law, etc., is quite common. Correspondingly, roles in HR, Administration, Finance, and Legal fields have become the primary career goals for many upon returning to their home countries. 

So, are you really aware of how these positions work and how they collaborate and function within companies? Next, this article will analyze what HR, Administration, Finance, and Legal roles actually entail.

Personnel Positions

Human Resources, Administration, Finance, and Legal roles can be considered as separate industries. However, this article combines them because in larger companies with well-established systems, these roles are collectively referred to as personnel positions and fall under the HR industry. 

All these HR-related positions belong to the functional departments of companies, fundamentally providing support for the company's continuous, healthy, and rapid development and the realization of its strategic goals. The larger the company and the more complex and specialized its business, the higher the demands on HR-related positions.

So, what roles do these four positions play within a company?

Human Resources (HR)

brunches of human resources

The positioning of the HR department can vary based on different companies and business models. For example, during a company's startup phase, the HR department mainly handles basic support tasks, but as the company reaches a certain size, it shifts towards more strategic work, gradually modularizing and providing specialized implementation measures. 

The nature of HR work also varies in different types of enterprises, such as state-owned, private, and foreign companies, as well as companies that primarily offer HR services. 

However, overall, HR roles mainly encompass three main tasks within a company:

  1. Personnel Management: This includes maintaining records, processing taxes, and handling recruitment and evaluations.

  2. Process Standardization: As the organization grows, HR departments need to create relevant systems and clarify norms to standardize operations.

  3. Business Support: In recent years, there's been a shift in the HR role's focus toward supporting business departments. It's a challenge to influence various departments positively from an HR perspective, and models like HR Business Partner (HRBP) have become popular. However, this model doesn't work in isolation. It evolves continuously, requiring a solid foundation to develop plans and achieve business support goals.


businessmen in office discussing administrative tasks

Administration roles are often perceived as involving various miscellaneous tasks, and even many in administrative positions can't clearly articulate their roles' contribution to the company or quantify their value. The primary tasks in administrative positions vary at different stages of a company but generally include:

  • Office Environment Management: Overseeing day-to-day office operations, facilities, and equipment.

  • Culture Development and Employee Care: Fostering a positive company culture and ensuring employee well-being.

  • Asset and Facility Management: Managing company assets and facilities.

  • Administrative Services: Providing essential administrative services.

Administration serves the company by meeting basic service needs, increasing work efficiency, and enhancing employee satisfaction. By creating a professional administrative system, it helps reduce company costs and empowers it to run smoothly. 

While administrative roles might not directly generate profits for most companies, when executed professionally, they become a core department, serving as the lubricant that keeps a company running smoothly.


men using the calculator to calculate the finances

The significance of finance roles in a company is self-evident. However, what exactly does a finance professional do within a company? In simple terms, the fundamental responsibilities of finance roles include accounting and financial management. 

They provide information about the company's financial condition and performance, offering professional advice for decision-making. Delivering comprehensive, timely, and accurate accounting information is the basic duty of a finance department. 

While some may think finance positions don't participate in a company's operational management, beyond providing information through financial statements, finance professionals may directly or indirectly participate in company management. In particular, in accounting firms primarily offering financial services, they become the company's core business, consistently fulfilling their roles in budgeting, allocation, and other aspects to enhance the company's financial performance. 

Furthermore, finance roles play a crucial role in managing cash flow and debt risks, thus reducing potential dangers that a company may encounter. They identify weak points in company management from a financial perspective and ensure the appropriate use, consumption, and allocation of funds, acting as the final line of defense for a company.


men in charge of the legal terms of the company

As of the current definition, legal roles involve handling legal matters within organizations, including businesses, public entities, and government departments. Many disputes exist in the world, especially for businesses, and legal issues that aren't clearly defined require legal professionals to review, provide guidance, clarify responsibilities, and mitigate risks. 

Legal roles are typically found in larger, more complex companies. The specific tasks in legal work depend on the company's business structure. Traditional legal roles related to company operations include drafting standard contracts, reviewing service contracts, and assessing legal risks related to various activities and collaborations. 

Additionally, some common legal roles include handling company litigation, mediation, and arbitration. When legal disputes arise, legal professionals use their expertise to resolve them, requiring not only solid skills but also a deep understanding of the company's operations. In some specialized areas, there are different legal roles, such as those related to investment and mergers and acquisitions, trademark protection, and legal roles that collaborate with HR and Administration. All of these are essential within a company.

In Summary

In conclusion, these different departments, including Human Resources, Administration, Finance, and Legal departments collaborate to form a larger personnel department. While each department's roles and focuses differ significantly, their ultimate goal is to provide support for a company's continuous, healthy, and rapid development and the realization of its strategic goals. 

The specific responsibilities for different personnel positions within the HR department and the skills required for international students to enter this industry will be explained in future articles.