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Duties of Chief Accounting Officer

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A chief accounting officer (CAO) is typically responsible for overseeing all aspects of an organization's accounting function. The C-level position often reports to top level management and requires extensive experience.

As one of his conditions of membership, he is required to have passed an examination in accounting and related fields of study. The recognized company should also have the power to exclude from membership those persons found guilty of negligence in the performance of their duties or of conduct that is discreditable to their profession.
The accounting officer is required to: determine whether the financial statement are in accordance with the accounting records, determine the accounting policies applied in the preparation of the financial statement and report to members on the above matters.

When the accounting officer is a member or employee of a corporation, he must state this fact in his report. In performing his duties the accounting officer has, in accordance with the Close Corporations Act, right of access to the accounting records and other information of the corporation and is entitled to obtain any necessary explanations from members. If, during the performance of his duties, an accounting officer becomes aware on any contravention of a provision of the Close Corporations Act, he must describe the nature of the contravention in his report, irrespective of whether the contravention is material.

If the accounting officer becomes aware during the performance of his duties that any change in the particulars of the founding statement have not been registered, or that the financial statements indicate that as at the end of the financial year concerned the corporation's liabilities exceed its assets he must report forthwith, by registered post to the Registrar. If the accounting officer at any time knows, or has reason to believe, that the corporation is not carrying on business and has no intention of resuming operations in the foreseeable future, he must immediately report same to the Registrar.

An accounting officer who resigns or who is removed from office must immediately inform every member of the corporation thereof in writing and must send a copy of his letter to the registered office of the corporation. An accounting officer who is removed from office must consider the reasons for his removal. If he considers that he was removed for invalid reasons, he must immediately inform the Registrar and send a copy of his letter to every member in the corporation.

At the end of the day it is the responsibility of the members to ensure that the accounting officer has prepared the financial statements to fairly represent the affairs of the corporation and that are prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting practice suitable to the business of the corporation. If the members and or the accounting officer fail to comply with this responsibility, they can be guilty of mismanagement.
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