An accounting is a service function. The main accounting executive through whatever name he is termed as holds a staff position except inside his own department where he exerts authority. It is in contradistinction to the roles played through production or marketing executives who hold line authority: The responsibility of the accountant is advisory in character. He works by the authority of the main executive. The accounts and or finance departments do not exercise direct authority over line departments. In decentralized structure along with a number of divisions and units, the accounting executive though exercises what is termed as the functional authority over all the accounting staff deployed in differ segments.
There are two facets to the function of the accountant. For the top managers he works like a watchdog and for lower and middle level managers he serves as 'helper'. The watchdog role is generally performed by 'score-keeping' task of accounting and reporting to all levels of management. The 'helper' role is usually performed through the task of directing managers' attention to problems and assisting them in resolving problems. Mutual understanding and rapport among the accountant and the manager, in the tasks of attention-directing and problem-solving can be enhanced if accountant and his staff frequently interact along with the line managers and guide them in matters related with preparation of budgets and control documents along with that they might not be conversant. This will instill confidence among line managers regarding the reliability of reports.