Continuing great job on the discussions – I appreciate the growth you’ve shown in the quality and substance of the comments. Keep up the good work. You raised most of the important points but let me summarize my view.
Q1: How does Finance / Accounting manage non-finance people’s tasks that impact them? Some good comments about cross-training, controls and other ideas. After working as a non-finance person in processes that impacted financial results significantly, I firmly believe that every person performing a process task needs to know the basic impact of their efforts. The impact knowledge needs to include at minimum the dimensions of finance / account as well as business results.
Q2: How much Finance Account should I/T people know? If you’re and I/T professional who’s job involved applications with any financial content (e.g. ERP systems) I recommend you learn what you can. As a few or you pointed out – Finance is the language of business and business knowledge is critical to I/T success. It doesn’t mean you have to have an accounting or financial degree but I encourage I/T folk to be inquisitive and learn what you can. I particularly like the comment from one of the posts ‘How would IT personnel be able to design and implement solutions if he/she is not familiar with the business function he/she designing the solution for?’
Q3: Financial Controls domestic vs. International companies: just like other processes – differences of language and currencies are the critical differences. The financial and tax practices of other countries vary considerably and related controls are necessary. However, that doesn’t mean any less focus on the basic application and process controls.
Q4: Should I/T Professionals supporting general I/T (e.g. workstations, network, etc.) have knowledge of ERP? There is not reason all IT folks need to know the details of ERP systems. However, they do need to know the basics of what the systems do, their importance and how the IT work being performed supports the goals of the ERP systems.
In general, always ask questions and be inquisitive about the work you’re doing, especially along the dimensions of a) finance / accounting and b) the ultimate business / outcomes of the organization you’re working in / with.