1.1. BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Corporate Financial organizations are setup with the principal objective of creating wealth for their shareholders. Corporate Financial organizations are increasingly becoming more complex (and in many cases global) thereby engendering the need for complete, transparent, reliable and accurate information that can be accessed quickly. This is particularly germane as the gulf between ownership and management has grown wider in line with global best practices and most large business organizations are owned by a broad and disparate set of shareholders.
Businesses in much of the 18th and 19th centuries according for Fowokan (1997) were small, with restricted owner-manager teams as capital was produced by a tightly-knit family of investors, and management was carried out solely by owners. In such a setting, there was no external pressure to increase the quantity and quality of corporate reports.
However, as businesses grew, widely dispersed number of small time owners pooled resources for investment, and delegated management to a professional crop of experts. The need to report to the owners became a necessity and an indispensable requirement for remaining in business. Such reports are usually rendered by book-keepers. However at the onset of the 20th century’, according to Onukagha (1993) a number of interrelated factors sped forth rapid development in corporate reporting, as a result of which the business community accepted, the need for some basic and common accounting and reporting standards. Hence, the emergence of Accountant.
Accountant occupies a very unique position in any Corporate Financial organization as, he is always referred to as thelife-wire of his establishment. Accounting as a profession has come of age and currentdevelopments demand of Accountant to go an extra mile before he could be adjudged as an achiever. However, since the Accountant does not operate in a vacuum, he has several forces to contend with if only he is to succeed in this environment that is saddled with political and economic manipulations, moreso, several developments within the profession coupled with the ever- changing environment in which the Accountant operates has brought to light that, there is more to it than that. This is because there are lots of refinements and sophistication which the Accountant has to contend with in the daily performance of his duties.
According to Susan Davis (2015), an accountant is a person who performs financial functions related to the collection, accuracy, recording, analysis and presentation of a business, organization or company’s financial operations. The accountant usually has a variety of administrative roles within a company’s operations. In a smaller business, an accountant’s role may consist of primarily financial data collection, entry and report generation. Middle to larger sized companies may utilize an accountant as an adviser and financial interpreter, who may present the company’s financial data to people within and outside of the business. Generally, the accountant can also deal with third parties, such as vendors, customers and financial institutions.
Out of all the known professionals, the Accountant seems the most mobile as he is unavoidable in almost all the facets of human endeavours. While most of the other professionals are restricted to their areas of operations such that, the Medical Doctor is found in the hospital, the Lawyer in the Chamber or Court, and the Engineer in the factory or workshop. In the case of the Accountant, he is everywhere and hence we have, hospital Accountant, factory/workshop Accountant, Accountant in government service, industry, academia and of course consultancy and professional services. It is no gainsaying that, what blood is to the body is what money is to business and by inference what the Accountant (the custodian of money) is to his organisation and indeed, the Nation.
While it is widely believed that the accountant in any corporate financial institution can serve many roles, from overseeing the preparation of all financial documents related to the company to implementing financial strategies created by management or making investment decisions for the organisation. As a chief accountant in the accounting department, you may sit on the upper management team to play an integral part in developing long-term goals. In a larger business, you might also supervise a team of financial professionals.
Indeed, the modern business environment has changed drastically in a short time. Business technology has advanced business functions and operations to levels not previously believed possible. The role of accounting and business is perhaps one of the most reliable functions in any business organisations.
While a few basic procedures or methods have changed, the purpose of accounting remains the same. Business owners often use accounting to measure the financial performance of their companies and make business decisions. (Vitez2015).
For the enhancement of the performance of his duties according to Edet (2001), Accountant has to undertake the followings: record keeping (book keeping); cost accumulation for decision making (performance evaluation, control, predictions and crises management); auditing and investigation: tax management and other management advisory services such as: liquidation, acquisition and mergers, privatization and commercialization. In conducting or performing those duties, the profession is governed by rules of conduct which include: independence; prudence; consistency and objectivity.
As a result of this, this study intends to explore more on the artificial and natural roles of Accountant in a corporate financial organisation.