A RACI matrix is a very important tool that can help in the implementation and correct functioning of a process. The RACI matrix is mostly used to align the human elements in the process. Usually there are many different people involved in any process and they have differing responsibilities. A RACI matrix makes an explicit documentation of this and keeps as a ready reference to be used at different stages in the process. Here is how the RACI matrix can be utilized.
Responsible: This is the class of people who are ultimately responsible for getting the work done. This may refer to the individual workers that perform the given task or it could refer to the system in case the task is automated.
Accountable: This is the class of people that are accountable to oversee that the work gets done. This usually means the immediate manager overseeing the work.
Consulted: These may be subject matter exerts who need to be consulted at the time of an exception. There is a possibility that am unanticipated scenario arises in a process. These are the people who will do the thinking and suggest any deviations from the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
Informed: This is the class of people who have some interest in the performance of a given task. This may be a manager trying to control the execution of the task at hand. Also this could be an input signal to the other process.
Having more than one accountable person again leads to the same problem. However, having only one person accountable also leads to a problem. If the assigned person is incompetent, the whole process may go for a toss. It is for this reason that there is often a hierarchy of accountable people in place.