The duties, roles and responsibility of accountants in modern society are becoming more pronounced and pervasive as the day passes on. Accountants continually position themselves in strategically advantaged position that enables them contribute enormously to the development and growth of our modern economy and society. Accounting in the medieval days revolves only around recording of financial transactions and reporting to the owners of businesses.
Today, the responsibilities, duties and roles of accountants range from business analysis to legal compliance and reporting. The syllabus of the accounting programs of most universities and professional accounting bodies have expanded to accommodate the expectation of the general public from their accountants.
HOW ACCOUNTANTS HELP MODERN ECONOMY
The roles, responsibilities and duties of accounting will be discussed under the following headings
COMMERCIAL AND FINANCIAL SUCCESS OF BUSINESS ENTITIES
- Business analysis and strategy development: the role of accountants in business analysis and strategy development is not questionable. Accountants with the right mix of skills objectively analyse the strategic position of business and then offer unbiased advice that help management make economic decision.
- Preparation of business plan: a business plan is likened to a compass that help guide the direction of a business. Accountants are seasoned finance professional that knows the ingredients that make up a workable and bankable business plan.
- Carrying out market research: gone are the days when people without any business, accounting or finance training can carry out a credible market research. Accountants are the most suitably qualified professional that combine these three skills, hence, there role in successfully executing market research is so vital.
- Business valuation: business valuation which the process of assigning value to the assets of a business entity based on both quantitative and qualitative information requires huge input from the accountants. Accountants prepare the necessary financial information needed to successfully value a business.
- Financial management: maximization of shareholders wealth is an important function of the management. Accountants through sound investment appraisal process advise the management to carryout investments that has positive NPVs which will all other things being equal increase the wealth of shareholders.
- Risk management: accountants working as company treasures provide the tools and mechanism of managing both business and financial risk of an organization. They do this by promoting integrated risk management approach in an entity.
- Raising finance: finance is the life blood of a business. A profitable business that does not have enough liquid assets will quickly go burst. Identifying the best source of finance for an entity is an important duty of an accountant.
MEETING LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
- Preparation of financial statements: for many companies, it is a legal requirement for them produces sets of annual reports at the end of every accounting period usually twelve months. Qualified accountants assist company directors to prepare these financial statements.
- Assisting legal proceedings: forensic accountants prepare financial information suitable to be used as legal evidence in the court of law
- Act as expert witness: professional accountants that specialise in forensic accounting represent client in court with legal evidence in the right format.
- Advising management on compliance issues: the business environment increasingly becomes regulated each and every day. Managers would really be lost if they left unguided. Accountants being conversant with the legal environment of businesses guide management on compliance issues- specifically, internal auditor’s team does this.
USE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
- Advising managers on the viability and suitability of deploying an IT infrastructure: modern day accountants evaluates the financial viability and suitability of IT projects and advice management on it. Accountants appraise the investment both from the financial and the non-financial perspectives.
- Auditing computerised accounting system: a major role of an auditor is to give credibility to a piece of information. Nowadays that accounting system have all gone digital through the use of accounting software, accountants that specialise in auditing computerised environment gather appropriate sufficient evidence that enables auditors minimise their audit risk.
- Designing management and accounting information system: accountants play an important role in the design, use and audit of both management and accounting information system. The complex nature of most businesses now requires that qualified accountants with systems experience participate in the design and development AIS and MIS.
Gone are the days when accountants only act as back office staff. In today’s highly competitive environment where organizations jostle for the attention of customers, accountants play vital role in overall commercial wellbeing of a company.