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Organization of the Financial Management Function

Whether your business career takes you in the direction of manufacturing, marketing, finance, or accounting, it is important for you to understand the role that financial management plays in the operations of the firm. Figure 1.1 is an organization chart for a tlpical manufacturing firm that gives special attention to the finance function.

As the head of one of the three major functional areas of the firm, the vice president of finance, or chief financial officer (CFO), generally reports directly to the president, or chief executive officer (CEO). In large firms, the financial operations overseen by the CFO will be split into two branches, with one headed by a treasurer and the other by a controller.

The controller's responsibilities are primarily accounting in nature. Cost accounting, as well as budgets and forecasts, concerns internal consumption. External financial reporting is provided to the 1RS, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the stockholders. The treasurer's responsibilities fall into the decision areas most commonly associated with financial management: investment (capital budgeting, pension management), financing (commercial banking and investment banking relationships, investor relations, dividend disbursement), and asset management (cash management, credit management). The organization chart may give you the false impression that a clear split exists between treasurer and controller responsibilities. In a well-functioning firm, information will flow easily back and forth between both branches. In small firms the treasurer and controller functions may be combined into one position, with a resulting commingling of activities.

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