The financial staff of any public, private, for-profit or nonprofit company is built to meet the needs and goals specific to that organization. While these staffs are customized and dynamic, there are several core responsibilities they all fulfill to assure the success of their organization. The finance staff of a company will lead to the company's ultimate success or failure.
The finance staff is responsible for accounting for various forms of revenue and expenses for a company. The company should show a consistent form of accounting that is open and accountable to all interested parties. This will give people involved with governance and decision making the ability to make the best decisions based on accurate and consistent accounting.
Accounting functions include check processing, accounts payable and receivable management, bank confirmations and payroll. These functions are an essential part of the day-to-day operations of a corporation and play a key role in meeting the company’s financial goals.
Depending on the way a company is set up, there are levels of compliance that must be met. The finance staff need to be familiar with the rules that govern their specific company. They must then make sure that the chief executive officer, the chief financial officer and the board of directors are compliant with those rules. These compliance rules and regulations are put in place to boost transparency for investors and the general public.
A publicly traded company must comply with the Statements on Auditing Standards as well as The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (referred to as SOX) for corporate compliance and governance, which was passed in the wake of public companies overstating revenues and filing fake financial statements. These compliance measures impose criminal penalties and financial consequences on chief executive officers, chief financial officers and board members who fail to comply.
Budget Formulation and Analysis
Financial staff build and analyze budgets for their company regularly. The financial staff will advise the top level management what actions to take based on measures of compliance and fiscally responsible practices. Budget analysis helps managers formulate a plan and course for the future. A savvy financial staff will help a company keep staff and investors happy by developing ways to increase budgeted revenues and keep expenses low through aggressive budget analysis.
Audit and Risk Managment
A financial staff must identify risk and manage the assets of a company or organization in a way that maximizes efficiency and compliance. The financial staff will audit processes and accounting functions to determine accuracy and safety of funds. When a risk to the accuracy or safety of funds or assets is identified in an audit, the financial staff must bring the deficiency to management’s attention. The finance staff must also make suggestions on how to limit the risk to company funds and resources.
Stephen J. Barron Jr. is currently the controller for Northampton County, Pa. He enjoys writing about history and Americana, but also has written about fraud, finance, and corporate governance. He publishes a blog and has written content for several online publications. He is a graduate of Widener University where he earned his B.A. in 1999 and J.D. in 2002.