The Small Business Controller

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Obtaining this position requires a willingness to work through the ranks, often starting with thankless jobs such as entry-level accounting or auditing. The workers who excel in these jobs and put the most into them are the ones most likely to be considered for promotions, which lead up the ladder, possibly to the controller position.

Accounting professionals who make it to the controller position enjoy above-average salaries. At small companies, the pay is often less. However, the advantage to working for a small business is that high-ranking employees, such as controllers, often get to share in the growth of the company. Career Advice. Investopedia uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience.

Controller Job Description Sample

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Partner Links. A controller may also be in a supporting role for a strategic CFO for projects such as determining cash flow issues, implementing new accounting systems, or helping raise capital. Outsourced Controller services can provide the following duties:. Some of the reasons companies are switching to outsourced bookkeeping , accounting and controller services are:. All businesses need financial oversight, but many business owners choose to tackle this task on their own to try to save money or keep a hands-on approach to managing the business.

There could be numerous reasons a small business needs outsourced controller services but an organization usually does this when they need assistance in financial data collection or in reporting. Some additional reasons include:.

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One of the main reasons organizations prefer outsourced controller services is that they may not have enough needs to justify a full-time employee with salary and benefits. Outsourced controller services are an excellent stepping stone while a company grows.


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To understand what controller services are, it's helpful to understand what a controller is. According to Investopedia, a controller is "[an] individual who has responsibility for all accounting-related activities within a firm. In a small business like yours, however, a controller would report directly to the CEO. Think of a controller as the go-to person for all accounting- and finance-related tasks. With that in mind, then, controller services encompass the tasks that a controller is typically expected to perform.

All too often, small business owners assume they can go without a controller. If anything, though, a controller is even more indispensable to a small company. As the owner of a small business, you need to stay abreast of where your company stands financially.

Controller: Job Description & Average Salary

When everything is scattered all over the place, getting a clear idea of the big picture is pretty much impossible. Imagine how much easier it would be to be kept up to date by a single person who is responsible for overseeing your company's financial and accounting activities. If that sounds appealing, it's time to sign up for controller services. As with any major business decision, you need to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a controller or outsourcing controller services. Will the benefits justify the extra expense? Couldn't you just continue on as you are? Here's the thing: Even if you've been able to keep your business on firm financial footing, further expansion will make it more and more difficult to do so.

Your accounting and finance needs will become more and more complex. Run down the following checklist of typical controller services. Doing so will give you a clearer idea of whether or not your business can benefit from having a dedicated controller.


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From payroll processing to taking care of accounts payable and receivable duties, day-to-day accounting and cash flow tasks are of the utmost importance to businesses of all sizes. Because you own a small business, your controller would likely be the person to manage these crucial everyday tasks. Right now, you might personally be handling them yourself, or you might have delegated the work to one or two employees.

Wouldn't your attention and time be better focused elsewhere? Who currently handles employees' benefits questions, maintains employee files and takes care of other human resources related tasks? These and other tasks, including k activities, hiring and training new employees and address employees' concerns are all things that would be handled by a controller.

Overall Accounting Oversight

As your business grows, human resources tasks will become more complicated. To keep things on an even keel, it's often best to sign up for controller services, which ensures that everything is being taken care of efficiently and effectively. How do you currently stay informed about where your business stands financially?

Regular financial reporting is important, but finding the time to get it done - and to ensure that it's accurate - is a tall order.