Small businesses don't require the structure of big corporations. Each employee knows what his job is and whom he reports to, which may be directly to the small-business owner. As a company grows and hires more employees, the owner delegates some of her responsibilities to supervisors, managers and directors. As the hierarchy ladder is climbed, the responsibilities of the position increases.
Entry-level jobs are the first rung in the hierarchy ladder. The jobs don’t require much, if any, experience. However, depending on the job, there could be educational requirements. For example, a sales clerk may not have to have any specific degree, but an entry level position in the public relations department may require a degree in marketing. Entry level jobs are lowest on the pay scale.
After the employee at the entry level has acquired the prerequisite amount of experience -- which varies from six months to a year or two, depending on the job -- the employee may be promoted to the next step. For example, an entry-level accounting clerk would be promoted to accounting clerk II and then senior accounting clerk. The exact titles are not standard, but depend on the company.
The next step up is a supervisor position. A supervisor is responsible for overseeing the work of the entry-level positions and the secondary positions. She may be responsible for training, giving performance reviews and determining who gets promoted or who gets a raise. For example, the accounts payable supervisor is responsible for all the employees in the accounts payable section of the accounting department. Supervisors report to the manager.
Managers are responsible for a function within a department. For example, the sales manager is responsible for the sales function. The public relations manager takes care of the publicity and promotions function. The company's advertising programs come under the jurisdiction of the advertising manager. Another example would be the accounting manager, who is responsible for the accounts payable and accounts receivable functions including supervisors and staff.
Director or Vice President
In small companies, a director, or vice president, oversees a department consisting of several functions. Usually the title vice president is above that of director, but that's at the discretion of the company's owner or CEO. The director of marketing is responsible for all the functions within the marketing department including sales, public relations and advertising. The director, or vice president, is part of the executive team of the company and contributes to the creation of the strategic plan and the annual business planning process.
In companies with several hundred employees, the company hierarchy ends with the chiefs, or C-level officers. These include the chief financial officer, the chief operations officer and the chief IT officer. The chief and at the very top of the hierarchy is the chief executive officer. All the other chiefs report to the CEO. In a small business, the CEO is often the business owner.
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