Controller Definition

See also:
How to develop a controller
How to Hire a CFO Controller
Business Risk
Control Account
Term Loan
Separation Of Duties

Controller Definition

A company controller, defined as the lead auditor and accountant in a company, is an extremely powerful role. Company controllers are in charge with all important accounting measures: policy, procedures, changes, amendments, and leadership of all accounting employees. A company controller, business and nonprofit included, often has the title of CFO. The term controller or comptroller can be used interchangeably although comptroller often infers that the person is a government employee.

Controller Explanation

A controller, explained as the person who provides leadership to every aspect of accounting in a business, has many tasks. Controller duties are to make sure all accounting measures run smoothly and predictably.

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A controller of general accounts has many roles in a business. First, the controller organizes the entire accounting strategy for a company. This strategy is essential because it establishes methods such as fifo vs lifo, auditing schedules, overall financial reporting and analysis, and more. The controller position is, essentially, the “CEO” of the accounting that occurs for a business to keep track of operations.

Then, the controller in accounting creates policies that HR must abide by. Timing of expense and income entry, periods which events are reported in, and more. These policies are essential for quality reports.

The controller also decides all of the major accounting issues for a company. Is a certain expense worth the money? Should it be paid for now? All of these are decisions for the company controller.

Controller Example

For example, Danny is the accounting controller for a small business. As one of the most important officers in the business, Danny must create a way to make sense of all of the credits and debits which occur. He must make the tough accounting decisions that no one else is able to make.

Danny must decide, now, on whether an expense is worth the money. His company is considering a distribution center and must choose if opening it is the best option. He must turn this qualitative situation into quantifiable finances.

The plant will be quite expensive. Soon after beginning his analysis Danny comes to a realization; his company can have their product maker drop ship to the customer. With drop shipping, Danny’s company will never have to see the product. Rather than reshipping it, it will be packaged and reshipped by the manufacturer. Danny makes sure this is a good decision by performing a financial calculation.

His calculation finds that, despite the fees for a drop shipping account, his company will save money by using drop shipping through their manufacturer. This provides a simple and cost-saving solution. Danny makes his decision and waits for the kudos he has earned.

controller definition

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