Organisational structures & accounting Accountancy Ireland & Barden (Career Guide 2017)

Often overlooked but tremendously important for your career as an accountant is the concept of organisational structure: where your team sits in the overall business.

Group functions
This is where the CEO, CFO and executive team sit within a large multinational company – the headquarters, so to speak. The role of the accounting function is to consolidate global financial and management information, and harmonise the data on one platform for analysis. The end product forms the basis of several key managerial decisions and also features in the company’s financial reports. Examples include CRH, Kerry Group and DCC.

Shared services centre
Here, a company will consolidate functions that are replicated throughout the organisation. The end result is a team of employees in one location managing a specific activity – financial accounting, for example – for a company with a presence across multiple jurisdictions. This approach minimises the risk to the company by harmonising its approach to specific tasks, and creates efficiencies by eliminating repetition of roles. A prime example is Pfizer’s Global Financial Shared Services centre in Ringsend, which services its business units across a wide geography.

Large indigenous business
In this structure, you’ll find a large finance department with a clear division between financial accounting and management accounting activity. Such departments tend to involve a high volume of transactions and often serve a domestic customer base. Examples include ESB, Irish Water and Three Ireland. They are often stand-alone entities or large strategic business units of bigger, global companies (e.g. Three Ireland).

This company type is the most common and varied company type, ranging from small, family-owned companies to medium-sized, privately-owned and professionally run companies with multiple lines of business. In this type of company, accountants can expect a broader remit as the line between financial accounting and management accounting can be blurred.

Strategic business unit
This company type is usually a trading entity for a multinational company. Types of strategic business units can range from small teams of 40-50 people.

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