There are several top positions in the accounting profession, including controller, comptroller, chief accounting officer (CAO) or a director of accounting. These are all similar positions, however, the director of accounting position is one that combines responsibilities of all of the above, requiring sharp accounting skills and acute business acumen.
Director of Accounting
A director of accounting is responsible for the accounting department and staff. She oversees and reviews the work of the accountants, in the general-ledger groups as well as project and shared-services accounting. He is usually the organization's top accountant, with exception of the CFO. However, companies structure their departments in different ways.
The director is generally responsible for interpreting Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), depending on which one the company operates under. She is responsible for ensuring the company's accounting for its transactions according to these standards. He is responsible for accounting policy and application of all laws and regulations.
The Close Process
The director is responsible for the monthly and quarterly close process. The director has a team to complete the work, post the corrections and depreciation, but she is ultimately responsible for turning in the results at month's end. Depending on the size of the company and accounting department, the closing process can be an intense and stressful process that must be duplicated monthly.
Once the numbers are tallied and the books are closed, the director is responsible for the consolidated financial statements. It is his primary responsibility to ensure that the accounting procedures and regulations have been followed. This should result in fair and properly reported financial figures. The financial statements are supposed to be not only technically correct but represent reality.
The Top Spot
The director is responsible for presenting the results to the executive management team. This may include just the CFO or it could include the C-suite and board of directors. Within public companies, the director would e responsible for ensuring that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is receiving the financial figures quarterly and annually. She is responsible for overseeing the external financial reporting duties.
The director must be a strategic thinker and keen manager. He is are an integral part of the annual budget process. She is responsible for providing the financial information, interpretation and insight for the future budget creation. In many cases, all of the data provided to the CFO comes directly from the office of the director.
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