A systems accountant has two major roles in an organization. She must first review and evaluate all the financial systems, practices and policies of the company. This determines their worth and efficiency as independent entities and as part of the whole network of systems. After this analysis, she is required to eliminate poor performing systems and practices and devise improved replacement systems.
The success of a systems accountant depends largely on her combined expertise in understanding and applying the concepts of information technology, accounting and financial management. This background enables her to effectively analyze system performance. After her evaluation, she commonly prepares reports on her findings and distributes them to appropriate personnel.
Deciding which systems to replace can be a daunting task. The systems accountant often confers with managers and key personnel on their specific systems’ pros and cons before deciding how to proceed. Depending on the size and influence of the company, she may also discuss proposed changes with outside agencies or vendors to determine the effects of her decisions on their goals and expectations. Her objective is to ensure the most efficient, accurate and cost-effective systems are in place.
The systems accountant must carefully evaluate many aspects of the financial systems. Their long and short-term efficiency is a key factor, as is how system changes will affect all company departments. If one department will suffer at the expense of improving operations in another, she is required to carefully weigh what is best for both in the long run. The accountant is required to scrutinize everything from basic document control features through required end-user training. Other factors she must consider include the range of tasks a system can perform, its failure and downtime record and if its features will be viable long enough to justify the investment.
After changes have been decided upon and new systems have been implemented, the systems accountant constantly monitors their performance and obtains feedback from the affected departments. Along with these managers, supervisors and key players, she decides which systems are successful and which need further review, enhancements or replacement.
A systems accountant’s job normally consists of many ongoing projects, as departments evolve and their systems require adjustments. She concurrently conducts regular performance evaluations to make sure all finance and accounting functions remain accurate and efficient. As technology emerges, she is expected to impart advancements to appropriate personnel for their expert feedback and input.
Since the responsibilities of a systems accountant are so varied, a master’s degree is often required. In some cases, a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance coupled with demonstrated success in systems analysis or computer science may be acceptable.