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  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2016 02:18 PM
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Company types and structures

Types of company
Here is a simplified list of the different types of legal
structures for a business.


Sole trader (BrE)/Sole proprietor (AmE). This is a oneperson business. The person may describe themselves
as ‘self-employed’ (eg the owner of a small shop), or
as a ‘freelancer’ if they are a professional who works
for different clients (eg a photographer).
● Partnership. A group of people who work together
as equals (eg a firm of lawyers or architects). They
share the risks and the profits.
● Private company. The shares of the company are
privately owned, usually by a small number of
people. These shareholders typically include the
founder of the company, possibly some close family
members, and perhaps a few business associates
who provided money for the company.
● Public company (BrE)/Corporation (AmE). These
are the large companies that are listed on stock
exchanges like Germany’s DAX, France’s CAC
or the UK’s FTSE. They are called public because
anyone can buy their shares. Note: do not confuse a
state-owned enterprise with a public company.

Departments
The list of departments below is typical for many
business – each one corresponds to a business function.
Companies also have other departments related to their
own particular business activity.













Production might also include Purchasing and Quality
Assurance (QA).
Operations refers to all the internal processes of a
company and might include, for example, Logistics.
Sales might also include Business Development.
Customer Services might include Technical Support.
Marketing might include Market Research.
Communications refers to all promotional activities
including a strong focus on Public Relations (PR).
Finance has many subdivisions, such as Financial
Control, Treasury, Accounts and Payroll (= managing
salary payments).
Human Resources (HR).
Information Technology (IT).
Research and...

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