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Understanding the Distinctions and Roles in your Accounting Department

Whether you’re a one-person operation just starting out or a small to medium sized business, we’ve discovered in working with our clients that there is a certain amount of confusion concerning the key roles in the accounting department, and the functions and differences between each role.

Over this past month, our goal has been to clarify those distinctions and provide a better understanding of the different functions each person plays in your accounting department.

What are the Key Functions & Titles of the Accounting Department?

While opinions and specific details vary of each position, the essential roles and tasks of any accounting department should include the following:

Money out – making payments and keeping the bills paid
Money in – processing incoming payments
Payroll – paying employees and agencies
Reports – preparing financial reports, such as P&L, balance sheets
and budgets
Financial Controls – avoiding errors, fraud and theft

For a detailed view of each of these functions, check our full article.

Once you understand the various functions of your accounting department, the next step is to define the various titles and their responsibilities. This article in our series will help you grasp these key roles more clearly:

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Controller
  • Advanced Accountant
  • Bookkeeper

How Qualified are your key Accounting Personnel?

Understanding the primary roles is just one piece of the puzzle. Being clear about the necessary qualifications of your team is also a vital part of the decision-making process when hiring or contracting employees. As you move through the process of hiring, building and developing your accounting team, PCG can be your expert guide to help navigate through the maze of different rules and regulations to better understand the process, or directly provide key members of your accounting department through our highly-qualified outsourced services team.

On another note, remember to join us on Thursday, March 21st for the next Marin Business Forum. Our last event was a huge success, with over 90 attendees. We hope to see you there.

Note that Pacific Crest Group offers employee development, human resources, recruiting services, accounting and IT services


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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

Copyright 2012, Pacific Crest Group, All rights reserved.

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