What is the difference between a Controller and a CFO?

May 24, 2021 7:00 am Published by

difference between cfo and controller

Making prudent financial decisions is about more than just knowing the present financial situation. It’s about understanding the past and all the possibilities the future holds. These decisions require a big-picture approach, and the experts who make them must keep an eye on all types of revenue and expense streams to paint the most comprehensive financial picture possible.

Controllers, or sometimes knowns as financial controllers, are the people responsible for the accounting activities in a company. They are included in the accounting department, https://www.bookstime.com/ along with several other important positions, such as accounts receivable and accounts payable. The CFO is the finance leader and chief financial strategist of a company.

What Size Companies Bring in Controllers?

Those reasons, while certainly valid for startups and smaller operations, grow increasingly impractical as your business grows. CFOs ultimately decide the amount spent on every facet of the business, including digital technology. The term “C-Suite” is often used to refer to the very top level of a company’s management team.

Meanwhile, the titles of controller and comptroller refer to the same job. But controllers usually work for for-profit businesses while comptrollers tend to work for non-profit groups and government entities, Accounting Tools says. The difference between controller and CFO duties, in some organizations, may not be well-defined and there may be some overlap. As big-picture thinkers, CFOs can’t be cavalier with details but also don’t need to concern themselves so much with all the ins and outs. They instead focus more on the company’s overall financial state, not each individual revenue stream or expenditure.

How Much Does a CFO Make?

Download the free 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs to find out how you can become a more valuable financial leader. – you may have hit a speed bump in deciding whether to set your sights on becoming a controller or a chief financial officer, commonly abbreviated as CFO. Focused on future strategy, not just historic numbers, we help small to mid-sized businesses and startups reduce financial risk and grow. You get access to our consistent team of experts — priced by the hour, so you only pay for what you need. We’re collaborative, explaining what the numbers mean, rather than just emailing reports.

difference between cfo and controller

They’re not part of the executives, but they are still one of the senior managers of the company. With high-quality outsourced accounting services, business owners can leverage the power of a robust, fully functioning back office while only paying for the services, time, and people that are actually needed. Given this background, a good controller will be well versed in the day-to-day requirements of running an accounting department. cfo vs controller They will be detail-oriented and analytical, with strong math skills and extensive knowledge of general and industry-specific accounting standards and government regulations. Their skill set should include interpersonal and communication skills, good judgment, critical thinking, and management capabilities. You can expect proficiency in Microsoft Office products and relevant software, like QuickBooks and ERP solutions.

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