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The Essential Controller: An Introduction to What Every Financial Manager Must Know, Second Edition by Steven M. Bragg

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CHAPTER 1

Accounting in the Corporation

Importance of This Chapter

Though this chapter is relatively short, the new controller should read it carefully and ponder the key topics of discussion. We point out that the accounting function is extremely complex, both in terms of tasks and global reach as well as in its impact on other parts of the business. In many respects, the controller position has the most far-reaching impact of any management position, so the new controller must spend time considering how he or she will fit into the complex gearing of the modern corporation in order to achieve the greatest positive impact. Further, ethical issues arise more frequently in the accounting field than in most other areas, so the controller must be aware of these issues and understand the process for dealing with them.

The role of the accounting staff used to be simple enough—just process a basic set of accounting transactions and convert them into financial statements at month-end. The role has undergone a vast change in the last few decades, as technological improvements and a shifting view of management theory have resulted in a startlingly different accounting function. This chapter describes how the accounting function now incorporates many additional tasks and can even include the internal auditing and information technology functions in smaller organizations. It then goes on to describe how this functional area fits into and serves the needs of the rest of the company, and how ...

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