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What Is, And How Does An Accounting Department Structure Work?

September 13, 2023
Bill Kimball

It also tracks and makes tax payments to the appropriate state and federal government agencies. As its name suggests, accounts receivable are funds that a company is owed. In the accounting department, consumers’ payouts for goods and services are tracked and recorded.

A key function of every accounting department is the systematic record-keeping of the company’s financial transactions. Modern accounting departments make use of accounting software to automate their financial record-keeping duties. The best accounting software in the market is QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, and other QuickBooks alternatives. Every accounting department must also be able to keep track of and compliance with current financial regulations.

The warehouse manager pulls orders and packs and prepares them for shipment. Contracts with freight carriers for the most beneficial service of the company. Compares performance with operating plans and standards, and reports and interprets the results of operations to all levels of management. AP workflow automation could help increase the efficiency and productivity of your accounting department.

Division Managers

Cofounder Dave might be able to do all these things, but that doesn’t mean he should be doing all these things long term. But as a small-business owner, there are times you need to make do with less. The internal auditors are responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of internal controls. The person who assists in preparing financial information in accordance with U.S. The person who assists in preparing information used for decision making within the organization. As accounting is important for any company, it still differs from the industry of your business.

  • The CFO should have extensive experience in the accounting and financial industry and have at least an accounting degree.
  • They should be focused on strategy, financing, M&A transactions, high-level analysis, capital expenditure decisions, and most importantly, provide financial leadership.
  • To provide a basis for performance assessment and create accountability across the organization.
  • They are engaged in the quantification and analysis of all financial data in the accounting department.
  • The areas of analysis may change on a regular basis, so that management can view different aspects of the business, with an emphasis on improving financial results.

Coordinates activities and assists all department managers and employees. You can also use online inventory management tools to automate your accounting department inventory workload. Additionally, project tracking tools make it easier for you to track your accounting department and individual employees’ activities. These functions account for the bulk of time, labor, and resources expended by the accounting department. You can improve your accounting department’s efficiency and productivity by using accounting software to automate these functions. Accountants that do not hold any position in the accounting department are called staff accountants. They are responsible for day-to-day accounting activities as assigned to them by the accounting manager and other superiors.

How To Establish Your Accounting Department Structure

Your accounting department should master and perform seven crucial functions. They include account receivable and payable, payroll, inventory management, budgeting, reports and financial statements, legal compliance and financial control, and record-keeping.

accounting department structure

It also tracks employees’ time off, such as sick leave, vacation, and absence. Many people confuse the roles of the accounting department and finance department with being the same. The granting of credit to customers can be considered a treasury function, but is usually placed within the accounting department in smaller companies where there is no treasury staff. A properly-functioning credit group balances the need for more sales with the risk of generating more bad debts. A cost accounting staff can provide considerable value by calculating the profitability of various products, product lines, services, customers, sales regions, stores, and so forth.

To ensure the efficacy of their investment decisions and their prospects for higher growth and profitability, inquisitive investors would analyze the financial statements. To successfully manage a business or organization, accounting reports are crucial. When a business does not have access to accurate and timely data about its performance, it is doomed to failure. Therefore, financial statements are extremely important for the success of the company. Organizations that have an accounting department offer bookkeeping and related assistance. Receivable and payable transactions, selling prices, salaries and benefits, capital equipment, and other such financial elements are recorded in the department’s system.

In the entity’s balance sheet, payable expenditure includes cash that leaves the company and is accounted for as an obligation. The accounting department must ensure that all business liabilities are paid on time by the department for all the products and services.

This approach works best when the organization needs to be more agile in its decision-making. In this structure, information is more democratically shared across the organization. The department assists the rest of the company with the formulation of a company-wide budget, which is used to plan for expenditures in the coming year, including the purchase of fixed assets. The previous year’s budget may be used as a baseline to formulate the budget for the next year.

Accounting Department Responsibilities

As a result of this, the businesses accurately follow the laws of taxation and keeps a record as to how new taxes impact the company. The accounting department also focuses on confirming that financial controls are in place within an organization.

Often these cash flow tasks are assigned to the treasurer in big companies. Each accounting department’s primary objective is to maintain a full history of the company’s financial information.

accounting department structure

You need the Staff Accountant to enter everything correctly so the Accounting Manager can review and do more complex accounting. You also need a team to mitigate risk, handle different roles and responsibilities, increase timeliness, and ensure accuracy and continuity. A team will still ensure that the accounting and business can still run smoothly. The Financial Controller is responsible for the accounting and financial record of the company, making sure that all recorded data is accurate.

They also help senior management understand the financial implications of various ongoing activities – within and outside the organization. And adherence to the applicable standards of accounting, such as US GAAP. All of these practices are implemented to prevent any fraud and theft.

Accounting software helps accounting departments automate their invoices, payments, payroll, bookkeeping, and taxes. Additionally, you can use new age expense management software like Fyle to track all the business expenses from one central platform. The software also makes it easier and faster for accounting departments to close their books with real-time expense reporting.

Features To Support All Your Expense Management Needs

Nevertheless, they are primarily concerned with resolving instant financial situation. It is up to the controller to make sure that organization can effectively understand the company’s financial results. As a result, they offer reliable financial statements and evaluation that aid in understanding the financial wellbeing and performance of the company. In addition, statistics, illustrations, and spreadsheets are used to share information and facts including KPIs and performance evaluations. They are responsible for managing financial accounting tasks such as preparing reports, budgets, inventory, and so on. Also, they oversee the day-to-day accounting activities and assign tasks to other employees in the department. The accounting department is responsible for paying taxes on behalf of the business.

The CFO is at the top of the department and reports directly to the owner of the business or the Chief Operating Officer . ReconciliationsReconciliation is the process of comparing account balances to identify any financial inconsistencies, discrepancies, omissions, or even fraud. At the end of any accounting period, reconciliation involves matching balances and ensuring that debits from one account for one transaction is same as the credit to another account for the same transaction. To support senior management in the decision-making process through the appropriate presentation of the financial data. Decision-making is concentrated at the top of the organization, with lower levels of the entity being told how to implement those decisions. This approach is more common in large organizations operating in industries that do not experience much change. In this structure, information is aggregated at the top and is then selectively distributed down through the organization.

Balances and compliance with accounting standards are used to achieve this. Accountants also have a duty to keep an eye out for signs of fraud and theft. It is also required of the team that the finest procedures are followed to prevent a company from incurring massive failures.

Finance & Treasury Responsibilities

These include corporate income tax, regional taxes, municipal taxes, payroll tax and equity tax , value-added tax and withholding tax. Depending on the complexity of the business, it’s a good idea to involve a Certified Public Accountant in tax preparation and filing processes. The Sample Medium Accounting Department Organization Chart to the rightshows the general organization of the company’s accounting department. The actual Organization Chart may vary in detail based on the size of the department or organization involved and the type of activity performed.

The Staff Accountant should be an accountant because there many transactions requiring basic accounting knowledge and understanding. They also must be thorough, have great attention to detail, and know fundamental accounting principles. In the sections below, we’ll look at five essential business accounting tasks, the skills you should look for to handle those tasks, and red flags that you need reinforcements.

Lastly, the accounting departments also need to detect fraud and theft. Additionally, the team is also taxed to ensure the best practices are in place to save the business from huge losses. Additionally, payroll is a critical and complex accounting function that every accounting department needs to master. Some organizations even outsource payroll functions to external accounting agencies that specialize in payroll management. The accounting department also helps businesses identify areas to cut costs and save money.

At the same time, the accounting department should also ensure that the minimum amount of money goes out per payment, but without any late payment charges. Ideally, your accounting department should be composed of a variety of individuals with varying responsibilities. People who are responsible for recording payables can be delegated, while others are in responsible for having to sign the check. Assuring that the suppliers are paid in full is essential to maintaining good client relationships and the accounting department is liable for this purpose. This group of managers is tasked with keeping track of and monitoring all cash activities.