If you’re not a large company, you may think that hiring a controller is unnecessary. After all, it’s the kind of thing that only the Fortune 5000 companies have…right? Even if you’re not on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley, it’s worthwhile to have someone in place who can oversee all of your organization’s financial reporting.
What is a Controller?
Simply put, the controller is the highest-ranking member of a company’s accounting and finance department. In very large organizations, this person is often the main support for the company’s CFO, or chief financial officer (CFO). In smaller organizations, the controller will ensure timely and accurate financial reporting, as well as make sure the company understands and adheres to all local, state, and federal regulations regarding finance and accounting.
How Does It Differ from a Comptroller?
Though the terms “controller” and “comptroller” are often used interchangeably, there are subtle differences. “Comptroller” is often the title bestowed on the company’s highest-ranking financial employee, not just the head of the accounting and finance department. In addition to overseeing the accounting function, this person is ultimately responsible for the company’s budget and cash flow forecast. (More correctly, “comptroller” and “CFO” are the interchangeable terms.) Additionally, the word “comptroller” is often applied to the top financial employee at a non-profit organization.
Why Do We Need a Controller?
If you’re a small to medium-sized business (SMB), you may be able to skip the comptroller and concentrate your company’s financial responsibilities on a controller, or the person responsible for anything related to accounting, finance, and bookkeeping tasks. If you aren’t the type of company that needs (or can afford) a full-time controller on the payroll, consider outsourcing the function to a financial services agency. That way, you can buy the services and expertise you need (and can afford), without the need for taking on a new skilled worker. By outsourcing the process, you have the flexibility to find someone who understands your industry specifically.
Essentially, an outsourced controller allows you to tap the services and skills of a financial expert who understands your industry and helps keep your accounting books up-to-date. This person will also take on the responsibility of preparing financial reporting and producing information relevant to the running of your company in a timely manner.
How an Outsourced Controller Can Boost Your Bottom Line
While there are certain fees involved in hiring an outsourced controller, the person’s skills and expertise can actually save your organization money in the long run. Are you paying fees because of the late payment of invoices? Are you missing opportunities for improving the turnaround time for accounts receivable? Are you taking advantage of all financial opportunities that might come your way? A controller will help you make the most out of your financial transactions, save money and uncover new opportunities.
Hire a Professional
To learn more about outsourcing your controller function, consult with a professional. DOAAR is a small business bookkeeping, tax, and consulting services firm, with an additional focus on its clients’ personal finances. Specializing in bookkeeping, controller, and CFO services, DOAAR’s offering spans daily accounting, month-end close, complex financial modeling, and oversight. From execution to analysis and strategy, DOAAR provides clients with a powerful and fully integrated back-office accounting solution. We have locations throughout California and the rest of the U.S. Visit our website for more information or to contact us.