An accountant can be anything from a simple bookkeeper to a strategic advisor, interpreting financial information for senior decision-makers in the business.
Financial Data Management
The accounting structure of a company is an essential component of business operations. One of the primary roles of an accountant usually involves the collection and maintenance of financial data, as it relates to a company or firm. The accountant ensures that financial records are maintained in compliance with lawfully accepted procedures and policies on the corporate level. The financial information for any organization should be kept in a pristine manner because it is a key component used to operate and manage any business.
Managing the financial data of an organization can also include more sophisticated duties, such as developing, implementing and maintaining financial databases, as well as establishing and monitoring control procedures.
Analysis And Advice
As analysts, accountants may perform certain types of analysis using financial data that is used to assist in making business decisions. From deciding which kinds of supplies to order, payment of bills to payroll, the accountant handles many intricate financial details on a daily basis. Advising on business operations can include issues such as revenue and expenditure trends, financial commitments and future revenue expectations.
The accountant also analyzes financial data to resolve certain discrepancies and irregularities that may arise. Recommendations may also involve developing efficient resources and procedures while providing strategic recommendations for specific financial problems or situations.
Financial Report Preparation
Accountants typically prepare financial statements that may include monthly and annual accounts based upon the financial information that is compiled and analyzed. The preparation of financial management reports can include accurate quarterly and year-end closing documents. Reports compiled may be used in connection with the continual support and management of budgetary forecast activities.
The financial reports may be used by a financial director or officer for the development, implementation, and operation of a company’s financial software and systems, such as Hyperion, Excel and CODA Financial Management.
Regulatory and Reporting Compliance
An accountant may also be responsible for ensuring that all financial reporting deadlines are met, internally and externally. For example, quarterly, semi-annual and annual reports all have specific deadlines, as well as some tax implications. Monitoring and supporting taxation issues and filings can also be included in the role of an accountant. The accountant also usually coordinates the audit process by assisting with financial data preparation.
External Business Affiliations
Often, accountants must work with financial professionals from the four major fields of the industry: public, management, internal auditing, and government accounting. Accountants may provide data to a public accountant, who acts as a consultant, auditor and tax service professional.
Corporations, nonprofits, organizations, and governments use management accountants to record and analyze the financial information of the businesses in which they are employed. They usually advise company executives, creditors, stockholders, regulatory agencies and tax personnel. Accountants may also work with government officials who are examining and maintaining the financial records of the private business for whom an accountant is employed, in connection with taxation and government regulations.
An information technology audit, or information systems audit, is an examination of the management controls within an Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. The evaluation of obtained evidence determines if the information systems are safeguarding assets, maintaining data integrity, and operating effectively to achieve the organisation’s goals or objectives. These reviews may be performed in conjunction with a financial statement audit, internal audit, or other form of attestation engagement.
IT audits are also known as “automated data processing (ADP) audits” and “computer audits”. They were formerly called “electronic data processing (EDP) audits”.
An IT audit is different from a financial statement audit. While a financial audit’s purpose is to evaluate whether an organization is adhering to standard accounting practices, the purpose of an IT audit is to evaluate the system’s internal control design and effectiveness. This includes, but is not limited to, efficiency and security protocols, development processes, and IT governance or oversight.
Installing controls are necessary but not sufficient to provide adequate security. People responsible for security must consider if the controls are installed as intended, if they are effective in case any breach in security has occurred and, if so, what actions can be done to prevent future breaches. These enquiries must be answered by independent and unbiased observers. These observers are performing the task of information systems auditing. In an Information Systems (IS) environment, an audit is an examination of information systems, their inputs, outputs, and processing.
The primary function of an IT audit is to evaluate the systems that are in place to guard an organization’s information. Specifically, information technology audits are used to evaluate the organization’s ability to protect its information assets and properly dispense information to authorized parties.