It’s essential to engage the services of experienced financial controllers to ensure your organization’s accounting function can scale and operate in an orderly way as your business grows.
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The role of the financial controller combines straightforward accounting, finance strategy, and leadership. The best financial controllers focus on professionally managing your accounting team while ensuring that transactions are optimized, that financial reporting is accurately completed, and that the business complies with all reporting requirements.
What is a Financial Controller?
The executive overseeing a business’s accounting functions is known as the financial controller. Besides ensuring that ledgers are accurate and adhere to financial regulations, they confirm that the data is submitted correctly and on time. Creating and supervising the processes for recording business finances is also part of their duties.
Financial controllers are often certified public accountants (CPAs), and they report to the Chief Financial Officer. They are in charge of an organization’s accounting function and are responsible for preparing financial reports and analyzing financial information and data. Other tasks include creating reports that deliver insight into the accounts receivable and payable, inventory and payroll of the business.
Within an organization, the controller may be part of a team that includes bookkeepers, accountants, accounts receivable/payable clerks, payroll specialists and tax preparers. As well as day-to-day accounting and financial operations, the controller generates reports that the CFO relies on when advising the CEO on the organization’s strategic financial direction. Ensuring accuracy and improving efficiency are the controller’s primary goals.
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As the lead accountant, the financial controller is responsible for the organization’s financial and regulatory compliance. They oversee all accounting activities, including creating internal policies, setting up bank accounts, ensuring payment is received, and coordinating external tax accountants.
While their principal responsibility is to ensure that ledgers are accurate, a highly qualified controller may also manage information technologies, insurance, sales tax and federal income tax reporting, and external CPA audits.
Financial Controlling vs. Accounting
Although both roles are involved in the accounting process of a business, there are critical differences between accountancy and financial controlling.
The accountant keeps a record of the organization’s transactional data and balances the books at the end of the fiscal period.
The financial controller ensures that recorded data is accurate, timely and within the rules set by the business. The controller will spot discrepancies in the books and investigate what happened. They also oversee employee policies and procedures, such as expenses.
In addition to supervising the finance team and managing operations, the controller may monitor and track inventory assets; and implement and optimize the data collection, budgeting and month-end close processes.
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How Do Financial Controllers Add Value?
The financial controller’s role involves far more than data processing. An experienced controller can add considerable value to an organization by managing risk and preserving assets, maintaining efficient and effective finance operations, and shaping the future of the business.
Although people don’t generally consider financial controllers strategic, just because the title doesn’t appear in their job description, they can provide, assess, interpret, analyze and communicate trends that benefit your company’s success.