A business's finance department is responsible for processing payroll, paying vendors or suppliers (accounts payable), accepting payment from customers (accounts receivable), allocating assets, reducing liabilities and managing cash flow. A company's finance department could consist of only one person or it could employ dozens of financial professionals.
In large companies, the head of the finance department is the Chief Financial Officer, or CFO, according to Investopedia. The CFO is responsible for managing all financial and accounting business for the firm, including the preparation of all financial reports.
The finance department of a public company is often much different from that of a private company. In the former, for example, the finance department is responsible for maintaining relationships with stockholders as well as conducting the everyday financial business relevant to the firm, according to JA Smith & Associates.
In some companies, the finance and accounting departments are separate. The accounting department handles accounts payable and receivable as well as payroll, while the finance department deals with shareholder value, corporate assets and corporate liabilities.
In a broader sense, the finance department must determine where and how to spend money. This department is often tasked with finding cheaper alternatives to expensive products or services. The finance department can also work closely with human resources to manage employees' compensation and salaries.