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A Finance Department manages a firm's long-term and day-to-day monetary operations and strategy. Finance groups oversee incoming and outgoing payments, budget creation, cash management (treasury), accounting, financial reporting and many other tasks related to the finances of the company. Fincance organization size varies based upon total company-wide head count, company revenue, industry, and overall business strategy.
Common Finance job titles: Chief Financial Officer (CFO), EVP/SVP of Finance, Director of Finance
Accounts Payable (AP)
The Accounts Payable, or A/P, function is responsible for keeping the lights on and ensuring that all company vendors are paid in full and on time. They process invoices, cut checks and manage relationships with creditors. It is important, from a vendor management perspective, to ensure that debts are paid on-time and in full to avoid default and strained relationships with third party suppliers.
Common Accounts Payable (AP) job titles: Accounts Payable Analyst, Accounts Payable Clerk, Accounts Payable Specialist
Accounts Receivable (AR)
The Accounts Receivable, or A/R, function is responsible for collecting payments from customers or clients for goods or services provided. Some clients/customers may be extended a line of credit. The A/R group is tasked with ensuring that payments are made within the terms outlined in the original invoice or contract (e.g., net 30 days). When clients/customers fail to meet these terms, they are referred to the Collections Department (or a Collections Agency) and may face additional fees or penalties.
Common Accounts Receivable (AR) job titles: Billing Specialist, Accounts Receivable Clerk, Accounts Receivable Analyst
Accounting & Reporting (Controller Group)
The Controller Group is responsible for maintaining a company's books and ensuring that all business transactions are properly recorded and managed. The general ledger is the main source for all of the company's financial reports, so it is important that the Financial Controller and other staff accountants keep an organized record of all credits and debits (a double-entry general ledger 'journal'). The controller group also performs tasks such as cost accounting and fixed assets accounting.
Common Accounting & Reporting (Controller Group) job titles: Bookkeeper, Certified Public Accountant (CPA, Staff Accountant, Accounting Analyst, Accountant
Budgeting & Forecasting
The Budgeting and Forecasting Group is responsible for producing and assessing a company's budget by calculating the variance between planned and actual costs. They also forecast the revenue and expenses of certain groups or functions, allowing budget 'owners' to plan and prioritize spending. The Forecasting Group also produces 'what if' scenarios to prepare the company for a variety of possibilities.
Common Budgeting & Forecasting job titles: Budget Analyst, Budgeting & Forecasting Analyst, Staff Accountant
The Expense Management Group is responsible for monitoring and auditing all employee-initiated expenses. Expenses can include travel, lodging, entertainment and food. The group is also responsible for outlining and enforcing policies related to employee expenses, and in many cases, implementing an automated expense management system (software; SaaS) to improve efficiency.
Common Expense Management job titles: Expense Report Auditor, Travel and Expense Processor, Expense Analyst
Internal Audit & Compliance
The Internal Audit & Compliance Group is responsible for overseeing a company's financial operations to ensure that they are in line with internal and external policies and regulations. Legislation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has increased pressure on finance functions to improve reporting performance and internal audit quality/frequency.
Common Internal Audit & Compliance job titles: Auditor, Compliance Resolution Analyst, Financial Compliance Analyst
The Tax function is responsible for managing and planning all tax-related expenses. The circumstances that surround tax management can be complicated, especially when taking into account the various rules of taxation dealt with by companies that operate globally. The function also ensures that all tax payments are in compliance with any government requirements to avoid interest fees or penalties.
Common Tax job titles: Tax Accountant, Tax Analyst, Tax Associate, Tax Preparer, Staff Accountant
Also known as Cash Management, the Treasury Group manages all of the company's assets to maximize liquidity and reduce risk. The group is responsible for ensuring that a company has a steady cash flow and for securing any funding that may be needed. The group may also explore investment options for excess cash.
Common Treasury Management job titles: Treasurer, Treasury Analyst, Treasury Specialist, Treasury Operations Analyst
The Payroll Group is responsible for the administration and documentation of all salaries, wages, bonuses and deductions (payroll tax, social security) received by employees. Though this group is commonly outsourced or carried out within the HR group, if the business is small, payroll may be handled directly by the owner or an associate.
Common Payroll job titles: Payroll Specialist, Payroll Clerk, Payroll Processor