There’s an old joke that a Controller’s job is simple: to do everything the CEO doesn’t want to do.

And there’s a lot of truth in that statement. Essentially, the Controller’s main job is to be an all-purpose wrangler who can handle any problems that come their way: accounting, operations, IT, HR, legal, etc.

But what, exactly, does a Controller do?

If you own a growing business and think you might need a Controller some time soon, here’s a list of the things you can expect that person to handle for you.

A Controller can...

  • Design your company’s overall accounting system and workflows.

  • Close accounting periods and prepare accurate, timely financial reports.

  • Oversee bank accounts and cash flow to ensure that your business has the resources it needs to operate effectively.

  • Ensure your company is meeting all of its tax obligations.

  • Implement new technologies and systems that will help the business run more efficiently.

  • Analyze financial results and monitor how the business is performing.

  • Design and maintain your company’s internal control environment.

  • Help you plan for the future and pursue long-term goals like expanding your business, purchasing major assets, or applying for a credit line or bank loan.

Overall, we’d say that an effective Controller needs to have a blend of talents: about 60% accountant, 30% IT manager, and 10% jack-of-all-trades. That’s the type of person who has the financial skills and the nuts-and-bolts practicality to take on the Controller role and handle whatever problems you decide to throw at them.