What is Accountant Responsibility?
Accounting Responsibility means that an accountant work should understand and follow his/her duties of documenting accounting information so as to ensure that public trust and interest of all the related stakeholders are preserved. The accountant is the person who works in various areas of finance functions like accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, treasury, preparation of financial statements, etc. of an organization and also practices as certifies public accountant. An accountant plays a diversified role in audit, project reporting, valuation, and people rely on their work so let’s understand the responsibilities of an accountant from the point of view of various work they do.
Understanding Accountant Responsibility
Accountant responsibility varies slightly based on the accountant’s relationship with the tax filer or business in question. Independent accountants with some clients see confidential information, ranging from personal Social Security numbers to business sales data, and must observe accountant-client privilege. They cannot share private personal or business data with competitors or others.
Accountants who work for accounting firms also have a responsibility to keep information private, but they also have a responsibility to their firm. Namely, they must accurately track their hours and tasks completed. For example, an accountant performing an audit should only record items he has actually completed, rather than pretending he has completed items he has not in order to speed up the process or bolster his logged hours.
If an accountant works directly for a business, as an in-house accountant, he has access to information many others in the company do not, ranging from payroll figures to news about staff layoffs, and he also has to treat this information discretely. In addition to having a responsibility to the people who work at the company, in-house accountants are also responsible to stockholders and creditors. If accountants do not uphold their responsibilities, it can have a broad effect on the accounting industry and even the financial markets.
Components of the Accountant’s Responsibility
#1 – Accounting
In accounting, if there is any journal posted or invoice booked in the system, it should be reviewed by the accountant and ensure that the invoice is not booked earlier or from an unknown Supplier. While closing the books for the month, accrual should be made for invoices due but not received and prepaid should be released.
Many times the job involves estimation while making provision for any expense or revenue item, here accountant must be clear in taking the basis for estimation and should be a bit conservative in approach. Also at a time when unsure of an item, whether to capitalize or expense, one should follow accounting standards and other guiding notes to arrive at a rationale.
#2 – Auditing
The audit is the one thing at which the public, banks, investors and other related parties trust that the financial statements are presenting a true and fair view. It is saying the auditor is a watchdog and not a bloodhound. With so many recent accounting scandals like Tyco, Enron, WorldCom, etc.
The SOX was formed, and auditors were asked to go deep into the books. As an account, while working as an auditor one should never skip any step of the audit process. They must follow all the steps, take reasonable samples, question any ambiguities, ask the higher management for consent in writing where required and do all the reasonable check to ensure that books look good. They should release the audit report only after being satisfied with the validity and accuracy of numbers in financial statements.
#3 – Certified Public Accountant
Accountants working as CPA do so many tasks like return filing, valuation, project reporting, forensic accounting, etc. These reports are used by people to apply for loans, mortgage, credit card, cash credit, and other financial needs. While certifying these documents, the accountant must look at original papers, the last few years reports, other affecting factors and then only he/she should sign the reports.
#4 – Digital Environment
The digital world today poses a new challenge at accountant task and it is their duty to be equipped with the skillset needed to work through a computerized environment. The system development and system audit demand and accountant not only have the accounting skill set but also to possess a certain degree of technical knowledge that how accounting is done in the digital world.
The accountant must learn how to use test data in the computer and follow it from start the start to a point where an accountant can see how it impacts the Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet. The digital world today is an ever-changing scape and the emerging cyber crimes and thefts pose a new set of challenges on accountants and need them to be prepared and responsible for challenges thrown at them.
#5 – Moral Responsibility
An accountant is not only responsible to be equipped with the skillset of accounting and digitization, but they also have a moral responsibility towards society, regulatory authorities, country, and all the related stakeholders. Accountants are also called the watchman of economy and treasure and it is a huge compliment that comes with a high level of obligation and moral responsibility.
They should never indulge in any malpractice, file any false report, submit any unreasonable project report or involve in any systematic financial fraud. As an accountant, many a time they have to use their judgment and it should be free from any bias must never be influenced by any higher authority or any person. The accountant must always work ethically and with the highest degree of professionalism and must never let down the accounting profession by using any unethical or illegal means while performing their duties.
Accountant General Job Duties:
- Prepares asset, liability, and capital account entries by compiling and analyzing account information.
- Documents financial transactions by entering account information.
- Recommends financial actions by analyzing accounting options.
- Summarizes current financial status by collecting information; preparing balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and other reports.
- Substantiates financial transactions by auditing documents.
- Maintains accounting controls by preparing and recommending policies and procedures.
- Guides accounting clerical staff by coordinating activities and answering questions.
- Reconciles financial discrepancies by collecting and analyzing account information.
- Secures financial information by completing data base backups.
- Maintains financial security by following internal controls.
- Prepares payments by verifying documentation, and requesting disbursements.
- Answers accounting procedure questions by researching and interpreting accounting policy and regulations.
- Complies with federal, state, and local financial legal requirements by studying existing and new legislation, enforcing adherence to requirements, and advising management on needed actions.
- Prepares special financial reports by collecting, analyzing, and summarizing account information and trends.
- Maintains customer confidence and protects operations by keeping financial information confidential.
- Maintains professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications; establishing personal networks; participating in professional societies.
- Accomplishes the result by performing the duty.
- Contributes to team effort by accomplishing related results as needed.
- Thorough knowledge of basic accounting procedures and principles
- Awareness of business trends
- Experience with creating financial statements
- Experience with general ledger functions and the month-end/year end close process
- Excellent accounting software user and administration skills
- Accuracy and attention to detail
- Aptitude for numbers and quantitative skills
- Bachelor’s Degree in appropriate field of study or equivalent work experience
- Intermediate understanding of accounting and reporting standards, gaining experience in researching as it relates to accounting issues