Maintaining control over finances is vital to the well-being of any company, and the tasks that a financial controller performs might range from the mundane to the highly complex. Members of a financial control team are among the leading accounting executives of a company, and besides providing financial leadership and formulating accounting strategies, they can also help the company establish a broad vision of where they are, where they want to be, and how they propose to get there in terms of finances.
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Financial control teams are responsible for ensuring that all accounting entries are correctly made and that there is supporting documentation for validating each entry. In small companies, the financial controller would be directly responsible for managing cash, accounts payable, payroll disbursement, and accounts reconciliation. In large companies, there may be a number of control units looking into different aspects of the firm’s finances.
The financial controllers are responsible for establishing the procedures for securing the internal controls of the company. Under their supervision, every invoice will have to be reviewed, aging accounts looked into, and debts managed. They will have to lay down the compliance rules, make sure that the rules are adhered to, and also changed from time to time. Furthermore, they will have to set up a system for maintaining records and ensure that the records are easily available for those who need to read them. Most of the companies outsource financial accounting services which makes their records easy to maintain.
The financial control team will have to work closely with the tax accountants and internal auditors. Auditors require all kinds of data for completing their work, and the financial controllers will have to make sure that the data is available. Tax accountants also need updated accounting books and information to judge what the tax liabilities of the company are going to be and how they can save tax. The financial controllers will have to explain different accounting entries to them so that the tax accountants can file accurate statements.
Financial control does not end at merely maintaining proper records. Since they are the ones who have access to large volumes of data and they also understand it well, financial controllers have to be skilled at financial analysis and providing a perspective on what the numbers mean. Before taking an important business decision, the chief financial officer or the chief executive officer might call the financial controller and ask his opinion on whether there is enough financing to go ahead with a project. Financial controllers are in a position to assess risk, analyze efficiency and take a view on the policy decisions made by senior management. Their opinions are often sought for long-term financial planning as well.
Financial reporting forms a huge part of the financial controller’s role. Balance sheets, budgets, cash flow statements, asset statements, and financial projections cannot be released until the financial controllers have substantiated them. In small companies, the controller would even be responsible for all banking activities and might have to negotiate lines of credit with financial institutions and purchase agreements with vendors. The financial controller also has to ensure that the numbers which appear in the financial statements are accurate. Outsourcing financial reporting services ensures accurate financial statements for you company.
Financial control affects every part of the company. Therefore, the tasks of financial controllers are virtually unlimited. Their jobs involve a lot of coordination with other departments. They will have to hold regular meetings with other divisions to explain new policies, the need for regular data sharing, and the implications of the procedures they plan to lay down for the company. They will also have to stay in touch with government and regulatory policies so that they can implement them as and when they are changed.