Finance Departments

Find finance departments, DFS, and DOF. Finance departments provide information on financial services, finance, taxation, and banking.

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About Finance Departments

What is a Finance Department?

A Finance Department is a government agency responsible for financial administration, including accounting, cash management, investment management, debt management, the preparation of financial statements, and the enforcement of financial controls. In most cases, a Finance Director or Controller appointed by the chief executive heads the Finance Department. An elected or appointed Treasurer may also head the department. At the county or local government level, the Finance Department may be the parent agency for divisions charged with assessment, tax collection, and purchasing. At the state level, the department may have regulatory responsibilities for banking or insurance.

The Finance Department records all government financial transactions as part of its accounting responsibilities. These transactions include accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and the processing of employee benefits. The Finance Department is also responsible for periodically reconciling bank statements to the general ledger in order to ensure the accuracy of financial records. Each year, the Finance Department prepares annual financial statements based on financial activity for the prior year. The financial statements are audited by an outside agency to verify that they are a fair representation of the organization's financial situation.

The Finance Department usually manages the issuance of bonds and other forms of debt that are used to pay for infrastructure improvements and other public projects. The Finance Department sizes the bond offering and prepares the Official Statement, which, along with the annual financial statement, provides rating agencies with a basis for assigning a credit rating to the bonds.

The Finance Department is responsible for the organization's cash management and investments. The Department must balance the need for cash on hand to pay for current activities and obligations, with the need for maximizing investment returns. Most Finance Departments have adopted policies on cash management and investment.

The Finance Department develops and implements internal controls to ensure transparency in financial management, and to prevent fraud and the misappropriation of funds. The department enforces rules for approving and processing payments, handling cash, and other procedures. Part of the annual audit process involves reviewing the organization's compliance with internal controls.