Role and Functions of Finance Manager
In the modern enterprise, a finance manager occupies a key position, he being one of the dynamic member of corporate managerial team. His role, is becoming more and more pervasive and significant in solving complex managerial problems. Traditionally, the role of a finance manager was confined to raising funds from a number of sources, but due to recent developments in the socio-economic and political scenario throughout the world, he is placed in a central position in the organisation. He is responsible for shaping the fortunes of the enterprise and is involved in the most vital decision of allocation of capital like mergers, acquisitions, etc. A finance manager, as other members of the corporate team cannot be averse to the fast developments, around him and has to take note of the changes in order to take relevant steps in view of the dynamic changes in circumstances.
The nature of job of an accountant and finance manager is different, an accountant's job is primarily to record the business transactions, prepare financial statements showing results of the organisation for a given period and its financial condition at a given point of time. He is to record various happenings in monetary terms to ensure that assets, liabilities, incomes and expenses are properly grouped, classified and disclosed in the financial statements. Accountant is not concerned with management of funds that is a specialised task and in modern times a complex one. The finance manager or controller has a task entirely different from that of an accountant, he is to manage funds. Some of the important decisions as regards finance are as follows:
1) Estimating the requirements of funds: A business requires funds for long term purposes i.e. investment in fixed assets and so on. A careful estimate of such funds is required to be made. An assessment has to be made regarding requirements of working capital involving, estimation of amount of funds blocked in current assets and that likely to be generated for short periods through current liabilities. Forecasting the requirements of funds is done by use of techniques of budgetary control and long range planning.
2) Decision regarding capital structure: Once the requirements of funds is estimated, a decision regarding various sources from where the funds would be raised is to be taken. A proper mix of the various sources is to be worked out, each source of funds involves different issues for consideration. The finance manager has to carefully look into the existing capital structure and see how the various proposals of raising funds will affect it. He is to maintain a proper balance between long and short term funds.
3) Investment decision: Funds procured from different sources have to be invested in various kinds of assets. Long term funds are used in a project for fixed and also current assets. The investment of funds in a project is to be made after careful assessment of various projects through capital budgeting. A part of long term funds is also to be kept for financing working capital requirements. Asset management policies are to be laid down regarding various items of current assets, inventory policy is to be determined by the production and finance manager, while keeping in mind the requirement of production and future price estimates of raw materials and availability of funds.
4) Dividend decision: The finance manager is concerned with the decision to pay or declare dividend. He is to assist the top management in deciding as to what amount of dividend should be paid to the shareholders and what amount be retained by the company, it involves a large number of considerations. The principal function of a finance manager relates to decisions regarding procurement, investment and dividends.
5) Supply of funds to all parts of the organisation or cash management: The finance manager has to ensure that all sections i.e. branches, factories, units or departments of the organisation are supplied with adequate funds. An adequate supply of cash at all points of time is absolutely essential for the smooth flow of business operations. Even if one of the many branches is short of funds, the whole business may be in danger.
6) Evaluating financial performance: Management control systems are usually based on financial analysis, e.g. ROI (return on investment) system of divisional control. A finance manager has to constantly review the financial performance of various units of the organisation. Analysis of the financial performance helps the management for assessing how the funds are utilised in various divisions and what can be done to improve it.
7) Financial negotiations: Finance manager's major time is utilised in carrying out negotiations with financial institutions, banks and public depositors. He has to furnish a lot of information to these institutions and persons in order to ensure that raising of funds is within the statutes. Negotiations for outside financing often requires specialised skills.
8) Keeping in touch with stock exchange quotations and behavior of share prices: It involves analysis of major trends in the stock market and judging their impact on share prices of the company's shares.