In broad terms, financial controller roles and responsibilities include:
- Overseeing the organization’s financial accounting, monitoring, and reporting systems
- Ensuring the accuracy and completeness of financial records and reports
- Developing and implementing financial policies and procedures
- Analyzing and interpreting financial information to support decision-making
- Managing the organization’s budget and forecasting future financial performance
- Coordinating the preparation of financial statements, including the balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows
- Ensuring compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and professional standards
- Providing financial advice to senior management and stakeholders
- Managing financial risk by analyzing and mitigating potential exposures
- Developing and maintaining relationships with banks, investment analysts, and other financial stakeholders
- Leading, managing, and developing the finance team.
A financial controller can do both bookkeeping and the controller functions, but a bookkeeper can’t do the controller’s job. A bookkeeper is the first step in building a solid accounting function. Bookkeepers do the day-to-day transactional work of accounting, including invoicing customers, processing vendor invoices, posting collections & payments, processing payroll, and frequently reconciling bank accounts.
A financial controller is a higher-level responsibility that maintains the integrity and control of the entire accounting function. They produce GAAP financials that your bank wants, prepare all the reporting for the management teamwork, taxing authorities, auditors, and bankers. They also have the skills to make sure all accounts in the financials are supported by correct details—and can explain all unusual activity to you.
As with any other position on your staff, these can vary based on your business’s needs. Clearly, a part-time financial controller won’t serve all these needs—because they work part-time. So which needs do you have?