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What role does an accountant play in running a business?

Julianne Leybag
24 July 2017 2 minute readShare
accounting role, running a business

Accountants take charge of the business’ financial reputation—but what exactly do they do and how could they impact different facets of a business? My Business discusses the role of accountants in a business organisation.

Business owners know that looking after the financial condition of a business is a daunting task, one that is best left in the hands of an experienced accounting professional. But since accounting and finance are highly complex areas, a lot of business owners don’t know whether they should hire an accountant, a bookkeeper or both.

The ability of accountants to sort out the finances of a business leaves more time for business owners to focus on other parts of the business.


Specifically, accountants and/or bookkeepers focus on the following areas:

  • Financial advice and analysis
  • Financial data management
  • Financial report supervision
  • Regulation compliance and maintenance
  • External business affiliations

Financial advice and analysis

The role of a general ledger accountant goes beyond merely keeping track of the financial records of a company.


As accountants are well-versed in the field of accounting and finance, they’re fit to dole out financial advice and analysis—particularly when involving big business decisions. These analyses and advice can include anything from predicting future revenue to analysing market and expenditure trends.

The role of tax accountants also includes watching out for possible irregularities and discrepancies within the business through analysing internal business data, recommending the development of procedures that streamline the financial flow of a business and providing recommendations in the event of accounting-related issues that may arise.

Financial data management

Financial data management is probably the most well-known role of accounting in society. Financial records are critical to the operation of any business—which is why it must be well-maintained and constantly checked for possible irregularities.

Accountants and bookkeepers make sure that the financial records and data of a business remains accurate, updated and complies with all relevant rules and regulations, whether by corporate level or by international standards.



The role of an accountant also includes the creation and maintenance of financial record bases and development of all the necessary control procedures for the sake of bookkeeping for the business.

Financial report and supervision

Preparing financial reports for businesses are very critical and require an experienced hand, which is why a lot of business owners usually leave these reports for accountants to prepare.

These financial statements and reports may contain monthly or annual accounts, quarterly or year-end closing documents and reports relating to management and budgeting.

Financial reports done and authorised by a certified accountant can then be used for the development and implementation of relevant financial software systems within the business that can make financial maintenance easier.

Regulation compliance and maintenance

The role of accountants and auditors in fighting corruption comes into play with their task of monitoring rules and regulations on the national and international scale by making sure that businesses adhere to standards.

Accountants also make sure that deadlines of financial reports are met, whether annual, semi-annual or quarterly in nature. They oversee tax-related filings and issues of a business, helping with the auditing process of a business by providing all the necessary financial data for the auditor to use.

Simply put, accountants serve as “watchdogs” for business—tasked with making sure that everything regarding the business’ finances is in line and that the business avoids making mistakes that could cost them their reputation.

External business affiliations

There are four major fields in the accounting sphere: public accounting, management accounting, government accounting and internal auditing.

Most of the time, accounting specialists coming from these major fields have to interact and mingle with other accountants from other fields. For example, a management accountant can provide data to a public accountant who usually takes on the roles of a tax service professional, an auditor and a consultant at the same time.

In the same vein, accountants can also assist government accountants when it comes to complying with government and taxation rules and regulations by providing the financial records of a business.

Management accountants can also be authorised to advise business owners and executives when it comes to the financial upkeep of their businesses.

What role does an accountant play in running a business?
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Julianne Leybag

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