What is group/consolidation accounting and what does a group (consolidation) accountant do?

Group or consolidation accounting is the process of combining the financial results of several subsidiary companies into the combined financial results of a parent company. A specialist in this field is known as a group accountant or consolidation accountant

They are responsible for drawing up the group's consolidated accounts, supporting the audit process and working with the external auditors and ensuring that accounts are filed with the relevant authorities. The role typically reports directly to the group finance controller.

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:

  • Preparing accurate monthly consolidated management accounts whilst ensuring that the internal and external reporting deadlines are met
  • Developing the Group's monthly, quarterly and annual financial reporting processes
  • Ensuring compliance with internal and external reporting requirements
  • Implementing improvements to systems and financial controls
  • Assisting the Group's external auditors with the annual audit of consolidated accounts
  • Reviewing quarterly and annual financial statements and reports
  • Interpreting data and providing concise explanations on trends and variances
  • Preparing consolidated accounts under UK GAAP and IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards)
  • Assisting with acquisition and disposal accounting and business transfer reviews

Why are they important?

The consolidation process helps users of the accounts (such as investors and lenders) to better assess the financial results of a group of companies. Consolidation accountants play a vital role in some of the largest and most complex companies in the world, making sure that the group follows the right accounting procedures and helping management better understand the performance of the combined entity

Skills needed for this role

Consolidation accountants must have excellent Excel skills. Strong written and oral communication abilities are essential, as are solid analytical and planning skills. Strong technical knowledge and an understanding of complex group structures is also required, along with experience in financial control, statutory accounts preparation, consolidations and IFRS

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Financial Management

Advanced Performance Management

Advanced Audit and Assurance

 

Career opportunities presented by this role

Specialist consolidation accountants are in high demand for their experience working with large multi-national companies with many subsidiaries and complex accounting systems. Career progression can be achieved to more senior financial positions such as group finance controller and finance director.

Competencies

High level competencies required include:

  • Audit and assurance

    A. Advises on and communicates effectively the role and scope of audit and assurance engagements to relevant stakeholders.

    B. Applies regulatory, legal, professional and ethical standards relating to audit and assurance engagements.

    C. Plans and prepares for audit and assurance engagements.

    D. Performs effective audit, and assurance engagements.

    E. Reviews and reports on the findings of audit and assurance engagements.

    F. Guiding efficient and effective operations.

     

  • Corporate and business reporting

    A. Prepares financial statements, corporate financial and integrated reports for external stakeholders using appropriate technology.

    B. Leads effective decision making through analysing, evaluating and communicating performance and position of entities.

    C. Prepares financial statements for groups of entities using appropriate technologies.

    D. Monitors, critically evaluates, and advises on the relevant accounting standards, regulations, conceptual and financial reporting frameworks.

  • Data, digital and technology

    A. Identifies strategic options to add value, using data and technology.

    B. Analyses and evaluates data using appropriate technologies and tools.

    C. Applies technologies to visualise data clearly and effectively.

    D. Applies scepticism and ethical judgement to the use of data and data technology.

  • Financial management

    A. Links developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the economic environment to required improvements in the financial and risk management of an organisation.

    B. Advises on business asset valuations, capital projects and investments using appropriate analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques.

    C. Identifies, evaluates and advises on alternative sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance.

    D. Communicates and advises on the impact on financial decision making on current developments in regulation, governance and ethics.

    E. Assesses and advises on appropriate strategies to manage business and organisational performance regarding business and finance risk and effectively communicates the impact.

  • Governance, risk and control

    A - Evaluates organisational structures and governance to protect the long-term interests of stakeholders.

    B - Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls.

    C - Identifies and manages risk appropriately.

    D - Uses risk management for the best interests of an organisation and its stakeholders.

    E - Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures.
     

  • Management accounting

    A. Applies development and performance management, in the wider business and technological environment, within the context of strategic planning and implementation.

    B. Directs organisational performance through the selection and measurement of financial and non-financial performance indicators.

    C. Collaborates on the key tactical and organisational areas of budgeting and control, capital investments, people and resource management.

    D. Consults on the design and use of current and emerging technology and information systems to improve strategic decision-making and organisational performance.