It is critical that financial reports prepared for stakeholders be materially accurate. A company's internal controls are designed to provide reasonable assurance that the financial information prepared is reliable. With the many headlines in recent years regarding abuse by management and intentional misstatement of financial results, internal controls have received front page headlines. As a result, the federal government passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires management to state its responsibility for: (1) establishing and maintaining an adequate internal control structure and procedures for financial reporting; and (2) assessing the effectiveness of its internal control structure and procedures. This program examines how the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has impacted companies. It also discusses how the accounting function can establish itself to help the organization achieve both short- and long-term goals, as well as meet new regulatory compliance requirements. The critical aspects of organizing an accounting department are discussed, as well as the functions and responsibilities of most accounting departments. Effective organization of the department is considered. This program also reviews many of the financial ratios utilized by management to analyze financial results and assist in making informed decisions.
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