CFO versus Controller

CFO vs controller

Making intelligent business decisions is usually more straightforward to complete when you have reliable financial data available. Handling your accounting duties requires a considerable amount of time if you want to ensure your bookkeeping, tax planning and financial stability. Corporations typically cover these needs by implementing a finance team consisting of a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and a controller. Understanding how the CFO vs controller roles differ can let you know if their expertise might help benefit your business.

Responsibilities of a Controller

A controller, sometimes also referred to as a bookkeeper, looks after the record-keeping and accounting requirements of a business. They might also be in charge of completing the reports for  federal and state income taxes, sales taxes, financial statement audits and insurance requirements. Their primary focus is to keep a company compliant with regulatory and financial matters. The list of responsibilities for a controller can include the following:

  • Monitoring payroll and ensuring it is being completed accurately.
  • Maintaining cash balances and bank accounts.
  • Working with software applications used to make accounting procedures more accurate and efficient.
  • Preparing financial statements and reports when needed.
  • Ensuring your company is following all of the required accounting procedures and regulations.
  • Accounts Receivable oversight
  • Accounts Payable management

Read: How to Increase Profitability with an Outsourced Controller

Responsibilities of a CFO

The duties performed by a CFO involve more analysis than a controller provides. A CFO begins by reviewing your financial statements to understand past performance. They use this information to go one step further and develop strategies for improving your operations and financial performance. Working with management and operations allows them to implement specific strategies to help your company reach its operational and financial objectives. Some of the main responsibilities for a CFO can include the following:

– Identifying business risks associated with incoming profits and outgoing expenses. They’ll take these figures and develop specific strategies to take advantage of income opportunities. They will also play a role in cutting costs when the risks outweigh the benefits for a company.

– Collaborating with the executives of a business to help guide the company in a specific direction.

– Managing the repercussions of shortfalls in cash flow.

– Designing a strategy for reducing debt or acquiring equity.

Read: How an Outsourced CFO can Help Improve Your Business’s Financial Position

Do You Need a CFO or Controller at Your Company?

Utilizing the assistance of a CFO or a controller can be highly advantageous. However, knowing if you need assistance from one or the other can be determined by evaluating a few elements. Receiving help from a CFO might be required if your company is involved in any of the following:

– You’re thinking about relocating, acquiring or merging with another company.

– You’d like an experienced professional to examine your financials and develop strategies for growth and stability.

– You’re looking to make a significantly large investment decision and want clarification on the risks involved.

– You want a consistent and comprehensive forecast of income and cash flow.

Choosing to use the knowledge and experience of a controller might be your best choice if the following applies:

– You’re finding it challenging to keep up with your bookkeeping requirements and keeping financial records accurate.

– You’re going through a growth stage and want to ensure your company follows all of the requirements associated with current regulations and the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

– You’ve decided to develop a budget for your business.

– You need to have financial reports created to evaluate the current financial health of your business.

Click here for a Free Discovery Call

When Is the Best Time to Start Working With an Outsourced Accountant?

Knowing the differences between a CFO vs controller should help clarify each position’s role and make it easier for you to decide on the assistance you need. Here at Fusion CPA, we can help you fulfil both roles. Our knowledgeable and experienced CPAs are highly proficient in providing regulatory compliance and accurate accounting. We also have a best-of-class business advisory service specializing in goal setting that can help your company reach its full potential. Whether you need assistance with tax strategies, bookkeeping or more, we are here to help. Contact us today to get started.

This blog article is not intended to be the rendering of legal, accounting, tax advice or other professional services. Articles are based on current or proposed tax rules at the time they are written and older posts are not updated for tax rule changes. We expressly disclaim all liability in regard to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this blog as well as the use or interpretation of this information. Information provided on this website is not all-inclusive and such information should not be relied upon as being all-inclusive.