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Did You Know The Differences Between a CFO and a Controller?

Often, business owners are more interested in the actual business side of their operation, and lack the interest or knowledge to handle the financial responsibilities that must be performed. In order to fully understand the relationship between a Controller and a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), let's start by defining the responsibilities of each.

Most large businesses will have a CFO that is ultimately responsible for the financials of the company. However, the role of the CFO is much more encompassing. In addition to the financials, the CFO also works with operations and management (and sometimes outside sources) to get a perspective of past performances, analyze them to improve production, and implement strategies to achieve the goals of the business. CFO’s play a key role in developing and implementing strategy to achieve company’s goals.

Typically a Controller will handle the accounting and record keeping of the business as they come from an accounting background. That is not always the case with a CFO. The focus of the Controller is to concentrate on regulatory and financial compliance because there are changes constantly to tax and compliance issues, a Controller will generally have a better grasp of those changes than a CFO.

Whether you have a CFO or you handle all your bookkeeping yourself, you might consider hiring a Controller for a number of reasons.


  • Help find cost savings in the manufacturing process, office operations, and employee issues.

  • Often save you money on taxes.

  • Manage external reports and internal paperwork, which is always expanding.

  • Assist you in avoiding fines and penalties due to missing deadlines.

  • Consistently evaluate financials for potential savings.

  • Other responsibilities can include information technology management, insurance sales tax reporting, federal income reporting, outside CPA audits and human resources.

Want to take your financial performance to next level? OFWF can help.

We will travel to your offices on a regular or as needed basis to perform routine accounting functions for your company.

This includes:

  • Preparation of management reports

  • Preparation of all payroll quarterly reports.

  • Preparation of bank reconciliations.

  • Consultation regarding the management of the assets of your company.

  • Other services which you or your business may require.

Clearly, many CFO’s and business owners handle the bookkeeping and financial records all themselves, or delegate those duties to other staff or trusted family members. But the most savvy and successful businesses quickly learn that accounting and finances are the heart of the business, and deserve to be managed or reviewed by skilled professional specialists for a better future performance.

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