roles of cfo vs controller

Our articles, quick tips, infographics and how-to guides can offer entrepreneurs the most up-to-date information they need to flourish. Download our Executive Growth Reports now to see the kinds of reports a controller or CFO should deliver and keep them handy to compare with reports you receive from candidates. The easiest place to start in a controller cfo vs controller vs. CFO comparison is to give you a description of each role. Click here to learn more about outsourced CFO services from Haines & Lagerquist CPAs. Our awesome CFO service add-on offers custom accounting at a price that fits within many budgets. According to, in 2022, the median salary for a controller was $240,082 in the United States.

In addition to the Controller position, the next role on the senior accounting team is the Chief Financial Officer, or CFO. Whereas the Controller focuses on operational oversight and effectiveness, the CFO is primarily concerned with strategy, analysis and business direction. So, if you reviewing job ads or if you are planning to advertise for some skilled financial controllers or a CFO, know the difference. Hiring a bookkeeper doesn’t have to be a painful process because you can begin by outsourcing the work to a professional accounting firm. That’s an especially effective strategy if you’re not familiar with accounting, hiring a bookkeeper or vetting accountants or applicants for financial jobs. In H&M India, “Controller – India” reports to “Country Manager / CEO – India”.

Knowing When to Hire a Bookkeeper

The accounting department may be missing critical opportunities if there is no one in the role of controller. Not only that, but the CFO may be working overtime to get all the information they need to make accurate decisions. Likewise, without a CFO, the larger fiscal picture may be neglected, and the company may not have an accurate forecast of future finances.

roles of cfo vs controller

The difference between a controller and CFO is not only their job roles, but also their depth and breadth of experience. They help ensure financial statements are complete, accurate, and presented within GAAP standards. Today with businesses facing economic challenges, driving profitability by enabling efficient revenue practices has become a crucial responsibility for CFOs and finance controllers. They must build and lead modern finance teams with strategies to help businesses overcome economic pressures and sustain growth. When it comes to hiring controllers, employers normally look for a professional who has experience in heading multiple accountants at the same time. They should be flexible enough to handle some of the responsibilities of a bookkeeper or CFO under difficult circumstances.

What Does the CFO Do?

There are two types of key financial leadership roles 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.

Dell CFO Yvonne McGill’s 26 years at the company led to the C-suite. Here’s how she got there – AOL

Dell CFO Yvonne McGill’s 26 years at the company led to the C-suite. Here’s how she got there.

Posted: Tue, 10 Oct 2023 11:19:06 GMT [source]

As an outsourced finance department provider, we recruit controllers quite often. If you decide to hire a controller and/or CFO, we can help with some resources. In addition to the qualifications listed below, see our post 5 Questions Every Owner Should Ask Their Controller and The Average CFO Salary (2018) + 28 Key CFO Interview Questions (coming soon).

Grow Smarter with Fractional CFO Services

They focus on future cash flow more than historical data, and are experts in long-range operational planning and making sure every arm of the company is performing sustainably at peak performance. The biggest difference between a controller and a CFO is that a controller manages and measures historical financials while a CFO strategizes and executes a forward-looking financial strategy. A controller’s main duties include organizing your existing books, keeping them in order, and providing timely and accurate financial reporting and analysis.

Since their role is to act as a trusted advisor to the CEO, President, and others on the management team, it’s important to choose someone with whom you can build a strong working relationship. In short, “yes,” a controller can become a CFO, but it’s not necessarily the logical next step in their career. As we continue to explore the role of the controller vs CFO, you’ll see what I mean.

Controllers are essential to companies because they help to accurately report historical performance, as well as leading audits. This is crucial for companies for developing budgets, projections, and future analysis. This is imperative to a company as it is the basis for strategic decisions–it would be detrimental to base business decisions on inaccurate data.

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