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.