Controller vs CFO: 3 Key Differences

chief accounting officer vs.controller

This article will help you determine which job fits your skills, knowledge, and other requirements.

chief accounting officer vs.controller

If the industry the comptroller or CFO wants to work in has specialized accounting requirements, job seekers will need a year or two of experience in the industry. Bookkeepers enter data into the company’s books and keep track of financial records up to date. They track all income and expenses, pay bills, respond to outstanding invoices, and track payroll, as well as ensure tax compliance. Controllers interpret the data and build it into something more useful that provides guidance and facilitates tangible benefits. The controller may use the data to develop and maintain a financial forecast.

Financial Controllers, CFOs and Technology

Has to be compliance minded, which even though a person can be a senior finance professional is not always an aptitude. I view “Finance Director” as more suggestive of a strategic bent and workings with external parties (customers, banks, investors). Structuring your company’s accounting infrastructure is always a challenge, no matter your size or success level. One of the questions companies often find themselves asking is about the differences between controllers and accountants.

  • I would distinguish the responsibilities of a CAO from those of a corporate controller when it comes to being closer to the P&L and interactions with the board.
  • With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there’s continuity from sales to services to support.
  • Chief Financial Officers identify business risks by looking at financial data and make appropriate decisions to mitigate those risks, among their many leadership functions.
  • CAOs, on the other hand, simultaneously keep an eye on the past, present, and future.
  • The federal government predicts steady growth in the financial management sector, which includes CFOs and controllers.
  • Almost all controllers start out as public accountants or work in corporate settings before moving up.

They will also incorporate cash flow projections and sustainable financial growth models. At Fully Accountable, we understand your business has unique accounting needs. Our full-service digital accounting firm — equipped with digital accountants, controllers, and strategic CFOs — — can formulate a comprehensive accounting plan that suits your industry needs.

Top 5 Challenges Engineering CFOs Will Face in 2024

One uses revenue as a measurement, with multiple studies coalescing around a $25 million threshold, while others recommend $50 million to $100 million. In most cases, the nature of the business, the financial savvy of its owner and its capital structure inform where in that wide range a company will need a CFO’s expertise. However, accountants work famously long and intense hours during tax season (roughly February to April) before taking some time off during spring and summer.

It’s not uncommon to work more than 10 hours a day for six days a week during tax season. Controllers typically report directly to the CFO (except in cases where there is a COA) and usually lead a team of accountants, bookkeepers, and accounts receivable/payable clerks. In my Company, Finance Director is a level and Finance Controller is a title. Finance Controller is taking care of accounting while we have a FP&A Director taking care of business partner. Above all, we have a CFO/VP Finance taking overall Finance and Accounting.

Chief accounting officer vs. controller

They also play a crucial role in identifying potential risks and opportunities and recommending mitigation strategies. CAOs also play a crucial role in identifying potential risks and opportunities and recommending mitigation strategies. The controller is in charge of the company’s overall financial management, which includes reporting, budgeting, and making plans for the future. On the other hand, the CAO is in charge of day-to-day accounting tasks like keeping financial records, making financial statements, and ensuring that accounting standards and laws are followed. The controller is responsible for maintaining accurate books and reports and for running the day-to-day accounting operations of the business.