The CFO and controller services play an integral role in the growth of hundreds of thousands of businesses across the USA and abroad.
This is because the business management and owners neither have spare time nor expertise to supervise and manage the accounting and financial reporting closely.
However, closely monitoring and ensuring accurate accounting and financial operations is very important for mid-sized and large businesses.
This is why the growing and established businesses – both need a controller. Moreover, in larger enterprises, the chief financial officer (CFO) oversees all the financial operations of the company.
This is required for streamlining the financial operations and making sure they are conducted efficiently. Efficiency is the key in large businesses where the transactions are of large volume, and a few degrees of inefficiency can mean anything from losing a significant portion of the profit to a substantial loss.
“The controllers are the stewards, operators, strategists, and catalysts of the company’s financial operations.”
In this blog, we will get to know what CFO and controller services are, what they do, and the crucial reasons why a company needs them. We will take a comparative approach to explore the differences between Controller vs CFO.
Recommend To Read: Controller vs Bookkeeper: What Does a Business Need?
Controller and Its Types – In-House and Outsourced
Before we talk about controller services, we must first understand what a controller is. Controller is a financial officer in the company who supervises, manages, and leads the accounting operations.
He is trusted with defining, modifying, and managing the accounting tasks and making sure they are conducted timely and accurately.
The controller leads the accounting and bookkeeping team, which means he is in charge of the accountants and bookkeepers and supervises them. This eliminates the management’s requirement to communicate and supervise the accountants and bookkeepers directly.
Financial Controller – Role & Responsibilities
The controllers are the stewards, operators, strategists, and catalysts of the company’s financial operations. Let us go through all the responsibilities of a financial controller in a small or large business.
- The controller takes ownership and responsibility of all the accounting and financial operations in the company.
- They supervise and ensure the implementation of KPIs and internal controls, manage the transaction reports, and help with the budget and its preparation.
- The controller ensures that all the operations are according to the company’s policy and ideology and as per the government and legal regulations.
- They are responsible for ensuring compliance and making sure the company doesn’t go through troubles like penalties and litigation.
- The controllers are the catalysts of the business as they put the processes running in their place and make sure they are carried out efficiently.
- Controllers ensure the deadlines and standards are met and that any guidelines from management, external agencies, or the government have been followed.
In-House Controller and Outsourced Controller Services
There are two types of controllers – in-house controller and third-party controller services. While the majority of companies employ an in-house controller to oversee the operations, it can prove costly to many businesses. Therefore, they outsource controller services from a third-party accounting firm.
We will discuss more about the CFO and controller services in the upcoming sections.
What is a Fractional Controller?
Have you heard of fractional controllers and wondered who they are? A fractional controller handles all the operations of a financial controller mentioned above.
However, they do so remotely or are hired part-time when needed. Therefore, they are not an employee of the company but more like a service, easy to let go of.
Does My Business Need a Fractional Controller?
Whether your business needs a fractional controller is a tricky question and can only be answered after assessing your company’s requirements.
While it can never do harm to hire a fractional controller, you need to make sure that you are ready for them. Outsourcing can be challenging, and unless you are spending considerably on the business controller, it is bound to increase your expenses.
However, a suitable controller indeed ends up saving more business expenses than you spend on them.
Mid-sized and large businesses definitely need a controller to ensure the efficiency of the financial operations and keep expenses in check.
What is a Chief Financial Officer – Role & Responsibilities
Large enterprises need a chief financial officer (CFO) to manage the overall financial operations and strategy. The CFO is one of the top positions in the companies, and they report directly to the CEO and the board of Directors.
They have a significant contribution to capital structure, the company’s investments, money management, and long-term business strategy.
Let us take a look at the role and responsibilities of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
- The CFO is responsible for
- The CFO ensures business operations comply with regulations and industry standards such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
The CFO should lead the financial operations and ensure the company performs as per the set goals and expectations.
Controller vs CFO: Key Differences in Roles & Responsibilities
Controllers and CFOs have similar work responsibilities, yet they vary significantly in their work. Let us take a comparative look at the controller vs CFO and understand how they differ from each other.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
|When it comes to the scope of roles, the CFO is a strategizer who lays out and dictates the company’s future direction.
|The controller, on the other hand, is the tactician and ensures implementation and day-to-day financial operations.
|The CFO is responsible for decision-making and leadership of the company’s finances.
|The controller leverages their financial expertise to manage the overall accounting and financial operations.
|Regarding the hierarchy, the CFO is ranked directly below the CEO and holds a comparable position.
|The controller works under the CFO, tax manager, and treasurer and needs to report to them all.
|The CFO observes the market trends and how the industry is fairing the market trends.
|Controllers are more concerned with the internal operations and controls.
|The Chief Financial Officer is one of the faces of the company.
|The controller is the face of the accounting operations.
Getting Started with Outsourced CFO and Controller Services
There are several reasons why a business might choose to outsource the CFO and controller services instead of maintaining these positions in-house.
These include advantages like reduced cost, flexibility, customized solutions, high-grade quality, and the expertise of a professional team.
Depending on the requirements, a company might outsource bookkeeping and controller services or CFO and controller services.
Here’s What CFO and Controller Services Offer
Here are the different operations and responsibilities the CFO and controller services take care of:
- Maintaining a current chart of accounts
- Ensuring timely payment of accounts receivable and payable
- Keeping a current data storage infrastructure
- Overseeing the reconciliation of banks
- Giving the accounting department mentorship and on-the-job training
- Directing the accounting department in subsidiary businesses
- Overseeing all operations within the accounting department
- Putting accounting procedures, processes, and policies into practice and ensuring their maintenance
- Preserving the integrity of every accounting process
- Notifying management of any budgetary variations
- Offering suggestions for enhancing business performance
- Putting together the annual report and budget for the business
- Creating timely and pertinent financial reports
- Financial operating metrics generation and reporting
- Supplying business executives with financial data
- Providing financial data for the purpose of filing taxes
- Information sharing with outside auditors
- Keeping an eye on debts and compliance
- Facilitation of tax information to your CPA
- Investigating capital structure-related concerns for the company
- Choosing the most effective ways for the business to invest its funds
- Supervising the capital structure of the business
- Deciding which debt and equity options are optimal
Economic Strategy and Forecasting
- Forecasting potential outcomes and determining the best course of action for the company’s success
- Making projections about the financial future of the company
- Examining and contrasting the company’s financial circumstances in the past and present in order to enhance financial strategy
- Reporting on the areas in which the business is most financially efficient and identifying areas for improvement
The above are some of the most common CFO and financial controller services example.
Wrapping It Up
The controller services are integral for seamless and efficient accounting and financial operations.
Without a financial controller managing and supervising the overall financial operations, it becomes tough to ensure rich quality, compliance, and productivity.
On the other hand, a dedicated controller can help boost the company’s performance and profitability by a significant margin.
Allow our accounting experts to help you find the right bookkeeping, controller, and CFO services for your business. We do so by understanding your business requirements and then suggesting the right services fit for your company. Dial +1(800) 580-5375 and take a free consultation with our expert accountant today!