20+ Difference between CFO and Controller

difference between cfo and controller

If this is too rich for you or if you don’t need a full-time controller, there are alternatives. For example, at The CEO’s Right Hand, we provide accounting and bookkeeping services along with outsourced CFO services with packages starting at $4,500 a month. This will provide you with the support you need at just a fraction of the cost. If you are running a small business, your controller may do much of this work themselves.

difference between cfo and controller

And in other organizations, particularly small businesses, one person may assume both roles and go by both titles, working part-time in both capacities. Eric, a former Berkshire Hathaway CFO, advises companies walking through transitions and transactions or seeking to accelerate growth. He’s seen time and again that the most important responsibility of a CEO or founder is to provide clarity, particularly during the first 100 days of an inflection point. A controller enables growth by building, establishing and overseeing a firm’s financial operations—all of which are necessary for the business to scale. Every business needs a strong infrastructure to stand on and a clear, accurate view of the firm’s finances before they accelerate organic growth or contemplate acquisitions. The interests of an organization’s financial team and technology team might seem like two completely opposite ends of the business spectrum.

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As a newswriter in her early career, Brenna’s education reporting earned national awards and state-level accolades in California and North Carolina. Since 2018, she has worked in the higher education web content space, where she aims to help current and prospective students of all backgrounds find effective, accessible pathways to rewarding careers. Controllers can also benefit from earning a Certified Management Accountant (CMA)® or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)® title.

difference between cfo and controller

A controller or comptroller oversees the finance department and reports to the CFO. A comptroller is responsible for an organization’s overall financial management. This includes developing financial plans, overseeing cfo vs controller investments, and managing bookkeeping tasks such as accounts payable. A comptroller also provides advice on how to reduce costs and improve revenue. Knowing whether you need a controller or CFO depends on your needs.

Areas of Expertise

There are many reasons small business owners consider beefing up their finance team. Whatever your reasons, we’re glad you’re thinking about it, because, from our experience, most owners wait too long to get help. Even though the CFO and Controller have an accounting background, and have started as accountants, they have different roles to perform in business. Well, it can be said that the CFO has more roles in an organisation than a Controller.

  • A confident controller will protect their company’s assets, monitoring all the books, reports and filings for errors and potential fraud.
  • Goal-based, outsourced accounting services for companies ready to scale.
  • This allows them to be stand-alone even though they are still related.
  • A controller usually has strong bookkeeping or even CPA experience.
  • Controllers are responsible for providing timely financial information and reports so you can make intelligent, information-based business decisions.

These titles are used frequently–and often interchangeably–in the business world. However, despite the roles seeming colloquially familiar, in reality these two finance professionals have vastly different skills and qualifications. There are two types of key financial leadership roles https://www.bookstime.com/ in a modern business – the Financial Controller and the CFO. Mix them up and you will not secure job interviews or suitable candidates if you want to hire real talent. These two roles are not the same and neither of these is the same role as an accountant.

Difference Between a Finance Manager & Controller

A chief financial officer (CFO) is the senior executive responsible for managing the financial actions of a company. The CFO’s duties include tracking cash flow and financial planning as well as analyzing the company’s financial strengths and weaknesses and proposing corrective actions. A financial controller is a senior-level executive who acts as the head of accounting, and oversees the preparation of financial reports, such as balance sheets and income statements. At some companies, financial controllers are involved in evaluating and selecting technology for use within the finance department or other related departments within the organization. Two types of professionals who help businesses stay on top of their finances are financial controllers and chief financial officers (CFOs).

The three primary financial manager positions in most businesses are bookkeeper or accountant, controller, and Chief Financial Officer or CFO. A financial controller, or accounting manager, ensures that your company’s books and financial records are in order. As such, their role is more technical and tactical than operational.

Step Into the Controller vs. CFO Face-off

As you grow, however, they will need help and will assume the responsibility of hiring a team and leading the accounting department. The role and responsibilities of a CFO have expanded in the past two decades, according to the International Federation of Accountants. Whereas the CFO was once seen as a company’s ‘gatekeeper’, he or she is now expected to participate in driving an organization towards its goals. What are the signs that you may need more than what a controller mindset can provide? Essentially, the controller manages the company’s books and records and is responsible for the transaction processing in a company and reporting on those transactions.

Controllers are responsible for providing timely financial information and reports so you can make intelligent, information-based business decisions. Since all major business decisions are contingent on numbers, it’s important to have someone around who can answer those questions quickly and provide you relevant financial reports and information when you need it. One of the questions we get asked most frequently about financial roles and responsibilities is “What is the difference between a Controller and a CFO?