One such position is the controller (sometimes spelled “comptroller,” but always pronounced “controller”), who is the person responsible for a firm’s accounting-related activities. Another important consideration when choosing between these two roles is budgetary constraints. Controllers typically have lower salaries than CAOs due to their less specialized skill sets. Therefore, if cost efficiency is critical for your organization at this chief accounting officer vs controller stage of growth or development where procurement plays an important role in decision making process ,you may opt for hiring a controller. In terms of duties and responsibilities, there is no practical difference between the two titles. Comptrollers and controllers have the same position, but controllers work for businesses and comptrollers work for nonprofits and public sector organizations—often for local, state, and federal governments.
They work closely with other management team members to ensure that the company’s financial information is accurate, timely, and compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. They are also responsible for monitoring actual performance against budget and identifying and addressing variances. Consider things like size, growth plans, current financial challenges as well as future goals when making this critical decision. Given their importance within an organization’s financial ecosystem, it’s essential that any business looking to hire a CAO search for someone who has significant experience in finance leadership roles. Strong communication skills are also critical since this position requires working closely with other departments across organizations. Take our one-question “flash survey” and share your input on a timely issue facing controllers and chief accounting officers.
Chief accountant vs controller skills
Companies may become bogged down by an inefficient day-to-day accounting workload that uses too much time. Consider ways to increase the efficiency of your finance and accounts payable team to make more valuable business contributions. A controller’s primary and most commonly understood role is to manage operations of the accounting and finance function and collaboration with all other operating departments. It’s common for controllers to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or have a similar credential. The CPA certification equips controllers with the know-how on financial planning, internal auditing, financial statements, and more.
We provide outsourced accounting services to clients in the western region and beyond. They may also have a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification along with their Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis (CSCA) certificate. Pete Rathburn is a copy editor and fact-checker with expertise in economics and personal finance and over twenty years of experience in the classroom. In order words,you want someone whose skills align with purchasing management best practices like negotiation techniques,cost analysis etc. Ultimately though,the decision should come down to what makes the most sense for both short-term gains and long-term success in terms of procurement strategies. Ascending to the role of CFO takes a diverse skill set, thoughtful planning, and self-confidence.
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The CFO and CEO collaborate to make a case, based on the CEO’s vision and the CFO’s data, to get company-wide buy-in for changes in direction and new ideas. Select finance professionals are trained in GAAP fundamentals and may hold a GAAP certification. AICPA’s certification on GAAP for example equips finance professionals with the skills to master GAAP accounting and financial reporting concepts.
For smaller companies, this means setting up the accounting infrastructure and performing the bookkeeping, whereas larger companies use controllers in an overseer role. Other controllers work for the government and are akin to chief financial officers (CFOs) for their respective agencies. A controller is typically responsible for overall financial management and reporting, including preparing financial statements, budgeting and forecasting, and managing the accounting department. Those interested in entering the field of financial controllership will find that obtaining a Master’s degree in finance and accounting gives their resume an additional boost. 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. Ultimately, the decision between hiring a controller or a chief accounting officer comes down to your business needs and budget.