Cfo vs controller

As an experienced entrepreneur himself, he has served in various C-suite leadership and advisory roles across a wide spectrum of industries. Small companies (~$10MM in revenues) can expect to pay about $200,000 per year (including bonus, benefits, etc.). Alternatively, you can reduce your costs by outsourcing this function to a firm that offers fractional finance and accounting services. The salary range for a CFO is quite broad and dependent upon experience, the size of the company, the complexity of the industry, etc.

  • While some companies benefit from a fractional controller starting at $500K to $1MM, almost all companies have a controller by the time they reach $10MM in annual revenue.
  • They oversee all accounting functions and activities within an organization.
  • A controller can inform you of any potential bookkeeping issues before they get out of hand.
  • AICPA’s certification on GAAP for example equips finance professionals with the skills to master GAAP accounting and financial reporting concepts.
  • Furthermore, automation can bring a lot of profits to the company, both in terms of time and money.

These can be small and department-specific, as well as extensive audits of the entire company. A controller thoroughly understands accounting software and will know what’s Cfo vs controller best for your business. They know about all the best cloud-based accounting solutions on the market today and will select the perfect option for your small business.

Controller Salaries and Job Outlook

Even if the company employs a qualified and efficient controller and finance team, a CFO is necessary. A CFO’s value goes above being able to run the company’s books cleanly. Their ability to think long-term and develop creative solutions to financial challenges sets them apart. In this blog, we’ll break down the key difference between comptroller and controller, explain the role of a CFO, and help you determine which roles are essential to your business’s finance team. Making prudent financial decisions is about more than just knowing the present financial situation. It’s about understanding the past and all the possibilities the future holds.

If you plan for your accounting staff to go from three to twelve employees over the next few years, you’ll need some help with this process. Controller services can make sure the expansion goes according to plan. Our awesome CFO service add-on offers custom accounting at a price that fits within many budgets. According to, in 2022, the median salary for a controller was $240,082 in the United States.

They should also be able to provide references who can attest to their trustworthiness, technical abilities, and management skills. If you are running a small business, your controller may do much of this work themselves. As you grow, however, they will need help and will assume the responsibility of hiring a team and leading the accounting department. As with a CFO, you don’t always have to hire in-house to get a controller’s functions.

But if the business is relatively small and simple, then it may be best to wait until the company is more established before hiring a full-time CFO. If you’re not sure whether your business is ready to take on a CFO, here are a few things to consider. The CEO’s Right Hand takes charge of your finance, accounting, human resources, and other foundational functions so you can focus on what you do best – running your company. We then arm you with reliable data so you can make confident and timely business decisions. As to pedigree, a good CFO will have an undergraduate degree in finance or a related field, and most will hold a master’s degree, CPA, or CMA.

Download the free 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs to find out how you can become a more valuable financial leader. We often see commonalities with controller roles based on the annual revenue of the company. Additionally, it is important to consider the stage of development your company is in. If you are a startup or early-stage company, you may not need a full-time financial controller; however, as your business grows and becomes more complex, it may be time to consider hiring one.

The bottom 10% in the profession earned around $68,360, and the top 10% more than $208,000 annually. CFOs’ salaries may be affected by their experience and education level, as well as their geographic location and the industry in which they work. Manufacturing and professional, scientific, and technical services paid their chief executives a median annual salary of more than $208,000. Healthcare and social assistance paid $174,000, and government paid $110,000. Bottom line, financial controllers and CFOs enjoy a symbiotic relationship. The two jobs have many similarities, and in small companies these roles are often combined.

They use the reports the controllers and accountants generate to inform their plans, which might influence actions such as investing in a new project or determine their company’s future. A financial controller is a mid-level manager in your financial department. They oversee all accounting functions and activities within an organization. Most midsize companies start hiring a CFO when they begin earning more than $50 million in annual revenue. Smaller companies might also hire part-time or virtual CFO to save costs. If you’re looking to extend your runaway and aim for the next funding round, a CFO can help.

Education and Skills

Though controllers and CFOs have several things in common, they are very different positions. Their decision-making abilities, attention to detail, and typical previous work experiences set them apart. In companies with both roles, the controller often provides advice and counsel to the CFO, especially in areas related to accounting standards, taxation and other regulations.

Cfo vs controller

They’re always scanning the horizon to identify potential threats and opportunities in order to develop their recommendations and action plans for the future. Focused on future strategy, not just historic numbers, we help small to mid-sized businesses and startups reduce financial risk and grow. You get access to our consistent team of experts — priced by the hour, so you only pay for what you need.

Controller vs CFO: Which Does My Business Need?

A good financial controller will develop efficient and effective strategies to increase profit margins, increase employee productivity, and find cost savings through cash management. Unlike financial controllers, most chief financial officers have a higher level of education. They may have started in finance or investment banking rather than accounting, although they have a thorough understanding of accounting procedures. CFOs and financial controllers may have overlapping responsibilities within a company, but they each have specific roles that differ from one another. This can be confusing for business owners who are trying to figure out which position they need to fill to best manage their company’s finances. A controller is one of the most influential people within your company’s accounting and finance department.

  • Though controllers and CFOs have several things in common, they are very different positions.
  • Management of companies and enterprises employed 69,900 (11%), the government employed 44,800 (7%), and manufacturing employed 42,100 (6%).
  • A CFO is the top financial executive in a firm, responsible for its overall financial strategy.
  • They can announce new partnerships, discuss implications for security breaches, and provide answers to shareholders on behalf of the CEO and the organization.

If you asked any company’s chief financial officer (CFO) what they do, you would probably be in for a three-hour conversation. Once you hire a few employees, you can bring in a financial controller to help oversee any additional expansion in the accounting department. But fast-growing small businesses will eventually need to bring new members to their accounting team to manage accounting functions. You won’t have to worry about these tasks with a small business controller. They formally close the accounting period, post adjustments to the balance sheet and generate financial statements.

Roles and Responsibilities of a CFO

A virtual CFO can replace at least one full-time employee with additional savings in the finance department of up to 30%. See our outsourced accounting pricing tiers to learn more about our base packages starting at $500 per month. They take control of the day-to-day accounting operations, maintaining the highest level of accuracy and transparency across all books, accounts, and records. This is so that any incoming and outgoing transactions can occur smoothly for the business. Small businesses making less than a million in profits may work well with an accounting manager to generate income statements, track bank accounts, and attend to other bookkeeping responsibilities. As stated before, because the CFO vs Controller has more responsibilities assigned to the job, the pay is also better as well.

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Main tasks of financial controllers

A senior CFO joining a startup might receive significant stock options, for example. Practically speaking, an experienced CFO can also provide access to an important network of other professionals. There comes a point in every small business owner’s life when their daily tasks become seemingly impossible.