Accounting and accountant: their role in the organization

    And how do you develop relationships with accounting and accountants? Perhaps you, like many IT specialists, find it difficult to find a common language with them and, as a result, you regularly have working conflicts? Or do you, being a contractor, constantly feel hostility from the accountant, and for some reason your bills are paid last? Or maybe the conflicting demands of the company’s management and the chief accountant put you in a dead end as a specialist in the implementation of a software product, and you don’t understand what to do about it? Then this article is for you.

    Today I decided to talk about accounting, accountant and his role in the organization. It is intended, first of all, to specialists engaged in the implementation of ERP, CRM, accounting systems (for example, 1C) and other business automation products. And here I want to talk about the human factor and the rules of interaction with accounting.
    I will also clarify that this article will deal specifically with business companies, but not with government organizations.

    The fact is that financial flows, including the approval of contracts and payment of bills in small and medium-sized businesses, are often held by an accountant. The owner (manager) of the business delegates accounting authority to the account if it comes to everything related to finances. The reasons are obvious - the employment of the manager, the need for proper paperwork in terms of accounting and tax reporting, and finally, the need for the immediate implementation of certain actions related to the payment of bills. All this is in the area of ​​responsibility of accounting. And if you fail to find a common language with an accountant, with the signing of documents and payment of bills guaranteed problems will arise.

    In addition, in the implementation of any accounting system, you will come across primary accounting. You will need to figure out how the primary documentation is organized in the company, and how it interacts with the accounting department (obtaining documents for customers, payment information, etc.). And here, without the benevolent assistance of a professional accountant, you risk getting a lot of difficulties, misunderstandings, as a result, alterations and improvements. And, of course, customer dissatisfaction.

    Also, this article can help company employees, such as system administrators, service engineers, or sales staff, establish a proper and effective relationship with bookkeeping.

    At any enterprise there are two types of accounting:

    • Managerial. Required for internal control and decision-making by management. As an example, personnel changes, decisions on the purchase of equipment, strategic planning of business development, etc.
    • Regulated. This type of accounting is used for reporting to the state. This includes accounting, statistical and tax accounting.

    What is accounting?

    If you start learning reference books and documentation, accounting definitions will meet a lot. For example, Wikipedia offers the following:

    Accounting - a staffing-structural unit of an economic entity, designed to accumulate data on its property and liabilities.

    In the textbooks, instead of a short but difficult to read text, you will find entire chapters devoted to this definition. But for a layman, they also do not bring clarity.

    In fact, the accounting department is responsible for the following areas:

    • Accounting;
    • Tax accounting.

    In fact, the current activity of the accounting department is associated with the correct execution of documents reflecting all movements of funds and assets. And the ultimate goal is reporting to the state: tax, financial and statistical.

    Internal reporting and management accounting may be kept without accounting entries, documents and reports of a certain type. While reporting to the state is strictly regulated. This is the main purpose of any bookkeeping.

    What is the accounting department?

    Here I will not consider separate divisions subordinated to the accounting department - the financial and HR (personnel) department. In the context of the problems of working with accounting, these departments cause the least number of problems.

    The finance department deals strictly with the movement of funds, and interaction with it rarely raises questions. Often, developers and technicians do not intersect with him at all.

    The personnel department, although related to accounting, but is, in fact, a separate unit with its own accounting automation systems and other features. HR rather refers to management accounting.

    The main part of the accounting department is divided into two equilibrium subjects:

    1. Chief Accountant.
    2. The ordinary composition of the accounting

    It is impossible to consider the work of any accounting without taking into account the chief accountant. Moreover, it is the chief accountant who is the key figure, since he is personally responsible for the correct and timely reporting to the state.

    On how the chief accountant understands his responsibility and determines the degree of personal control over the document flow, including the primary one, all peculiarities of the work of the accounting department and its interaction with other departments directly depend.

    The ordinary composition of accounting in matters of organization of work and interaction with various specialists is only used as subordinate, slave employees. And it does not play a special role for building effective cooperation with accounting.

    It would seem that the organization of the work of other departments is constructed in a similar way. In fact this is not true. For example, in the sales department, in addition to the manager’s responsibility for overall performance, there is also the personal responsibility of each manager for interacting with customers. At the same time there are no such strict rules and clearly defined responsibility of the head of the unit. That is why many more initiatives are allowed, different approaches to work, etc.  

    It is important to understand that in medium and small business two people are responsible to the state for the activities of the company, reporting and paying mandatory contributions (tax and social) - the head of the company and the chief accountant. We will talk about the manager later, but now we’ll focus on the chief accountant.

    Chief Accountant

    So, the chief accountant is a manager who is responsible not only to the management of the company, but also to the state. On this basis, chief accountants usually build work on the basis of such approaches:

    1. Since the chief accountant is personally responsible for reporting, and reporting is formed on the basis of primary documents in which the sales department deals, it means that the chief accountant has the full right to control the work of the sales department and exert pressure if there are difficulties with the documents.
      I personally saw large companies with large turnover and the number of customers, where the entire sales department works in 1C.Accounting. Without using any other software systems or even 1C configurations. This means that the accountant is so afraid of irregularities in the workflow that he was able to convince the management to use only 1C.Accounting. Although for sales and management analytics is not the best solution.
    2. The chief accountant at some of the stages of working with documents appoints his person, i.e. one of the accountants. And already the accounting officer controls the accuracy of the current primary workflow.
      For example, a commercial offer and internal documents (product reservation, customer order) are created in the sales department using any convenient systems. But only the accountant has the right to issue an invoice, expendable commodity, transport, tax documents, acts of completed work and other similar documents.

    The main disadvantage of the first option is that the entire accounting in the company concentrates around the interests of accounting. Automation systems are used, designed primarily for accounting and reporting to the state. As a result, the company loses in management accounting.

    In programs for accounting there is no division into “Lida” and “customers”, there are no documents such as “order to supplier”, “request (order) of the buyer” or “commercial offer”. As a result, it is impossible to track all stages of working with clients, it is impossible to generate reports in many reports that are important for analyzing the effectiveness of work, etc.

    The second option also has its drawbacks:

    1. Blurred responsibility. An accountant who is busy extracting certain documents often does not keep up with the actions of sales managers. As a result, he simply “closes his eyes” to the fact that the sellers themselves form and send the necessary documentation. And then this specialist turns out to be an “extra link”. Check all the documentation that a whole staff of salespeople form every day is one accountant is simply not able to. And in the case of errors, he is "guilty without guilt." Guide this guesses. And it becomes extremely difficult to identify the culprit and the losses associated with it.
    2. Bureaucratic delays and lost profits. If the accountant is responsible, there are delays and difficulties in sending the buyer invoices for payment and other primary documents. The client worked with the sales department or service center, and suddenly he needed to wait for the accounting department to issue an invoice. And an accountant may be loaded with other requests and documents. The speed and level of service decreases, i.e. the company loses (misses) profits.

    There is another version of the work of the chief accountant, which I think is optimal: the accounting department does not interfere with management accounting.

    In this case, accountants deal exclusively with accounting documents (they write out powers of attorney, control the correctness of the documents held and the availability of the necessary originals with stamps and signatures). Those. the accounting department exercises general control over the part of the document flow that is required for reporting, as well as writing out documents that no one else can write out.

    In the rest, management accounting and current document circulation are not included in the sphere of interests and strict control by accountants. This allows the most flexible configuration of automation systems for various departments, to get all the benefits of high-quality management accounting. And today I have not met a better solution for the efficient operation of a business.

    The reasons for the different approaches

    It is clear that the choice of options for document management depends on the chief accountant. The head of the company most often withdraws from the formation of processes of interaction with the accounting department, since he believes that this is the area of ​​responsibility of accounting specialists. The head of sales may try to influence the accountant, but he does not make the decision.

    But the choice of options for the implementation of workflow directly depends on the personality and degree of professionalism of the chief accountant.

    If the company's chief accountant is a true expert in his business, he clearly understands the purpose of the company, i.e. making profit, and builds its work in such a way as to help, and not interfere with business.

    In fact, you do not even need to be an accountant to understand - it is impossible to control all the primary documentation. Except for a case when only the accountant is engaged in an extract of these documents. But this way reduces the quality and competitiveness of the business or “inflates” the accounting staff to unprofitable sizes. And this is not going to any reasonable leader. It is much easier to automate data exchange between systems and control document flow at the level of reports and random checks of the most important documents.

    It is also worth understanding that many accountants, even being quite experienced specialists, strive to “engage” as many processes as possible in order to become irreplaceable in the company. This is a normal and perfectly understandable human desire - to secure your future and a consistently high income. And here it is important that such desires do not go beyond reasonable limits.

    Why is it so hard to be a chief accountant?

    One of the biggest problems of chief accountants, leading to difficulties in interacting with them, including in automating and optimizing business processes, is the discrepancy between the responsibility of the chief accountant and his salary.

    For example, the head of the sales department receives a rate plus a certain percentage, and is responsible for possible mistakes in work only to the management of the company. The head of the business also receives a certain profit depending on the success of the company. The chief accountant receives only a rate (sometimes with a fixed premium) without a “floating” component in general, and is responsible for possible mistakes not only to the management, but also to the state.

    Based on this factor, it is necessary to build relationships with the chief accountant. Remember about their responsibility and treat attempts to "reinsure" with understanding.

    Causes of problems interacting with accounting

    1. Low qualification of accountants. Today, it is often possible to see in the company of the chief accountant, who barely knows the basics of accounting. Paradoxically, even a person without higher education can hold this position, simply after completing accounting courses. The main reason for such management decisions is that the manager chooses an accountant “for himself”. It is more important for our businessmen not the qualification of an accountant, but the opportunity to trust him.
    2. Low qualifications of the head and employees of the company. The lack of basic knowledge in the field of accounting for the management team leads to the fact that employees are not particularly eager to teach primary accounting. However, many employees themselves are not particularly interested in this area of ​​knowledge. As a result, an accountant is often forced to take over the entire “primary organization” in his own hands, because otherwise there will be regular blunders in the preparation of documents.
    3. High workloads and responsibility of accountants, not commensurate with salary. The company is developing, sales are growing, the number of documents and reports as well. And the salary of accountants remains at the same level. Even premiums rarely apply to this division. Naturally, on the one hand, the accountant will be reinsured to protect himself from mistakes. The interests of the company for him will be secondary. On the other hand, due to high workload, the processing of primary documentation and payment of bills will be postponed “last but not least”. Reports for the accountant - in the first place.

    Recommendations for implementation and automation specialists

    It is necessary to proceed in communication with the company's chief accountant from the problems listed above and the understanding of the specialist’s enormous responsibility. At the same time, there are simple recommendations that will help find a common language for those who, for one reason or another, are forced to interact with the accounting department in the process of automating business processes, introducing new software, servicing, etc.

    1. Read at least a little about accounting. Do not be lazy to look through the textbooks and understand at least the basics. And if you are engaged in software, including for accountants on an ongoing basis, you can even finish courses in accountants. This will help you speak the same language with them: you will understand their problems, they are the solutions you propose.
    2. Try to keep consultation with accountants to a minimum. Remember about their high workload , and also that no one pays extra for consultations. If you have basic knowledge of accounting, study the work of the company at the level of documents and consultations with employees of the same sales department, and only then come to the accounting department for the final consultations and approvals, you will be grateful.

    And most importantly, remember: accounting and document management in the company are built by the chief accountant. Features of the structure itself depend on his personality. And how much you can find a common language with this person, the success of your cooperation with the company as a whole.

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