CFO vs. Controller vs. Bookkeeper ? Who is doing what ?

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Recently I had a discussion with somebody about the setup of their company and about what would they need with regards to Finance and Finance Management.

The key question after all the discussion was what do I really need? What are the differences?

CFO ? Controller ? or a Bookkeeper ?

Well, it ain’t that easy as it looks like…

Let’s try to understand what are actually the differences, who is doing what?

A CFO is the corporate officer responsible for managing the company’s financial risks. CFOs are responsible for financial planning, record keeping, and financial data analysis.

A Controller is responsible for supervising the quality of the accounting and financial reporting of the company. Controllers are responsible for internal audit, overseeing accounting, and monitoring internal controls.

A Bookkeeper is responsible for recording day-to-day financial transactions in the accounting system. Despite not having advanced training, the bookkeeper’s responsibilities may be greater in small companies because there are fewer employees to manage the different components of a company’s finances. Bookkeepers typically do not prepare financial statements and are focused on ensuring the accuracy of daily journal entries.

( source : )

So, coming back to the question what would you need? I guess there is only one proper correct answer ….you kind of need them ALL.

All of them have their proper and well-defined role in any organization.

The posting that illustrates better what the difference is between CFO and Controller is a rather old one but I think one that captures the best the main differences.

For startups and smaller companies, a part-time or interim CFO or Controller can give senior-level executive ability without full-time employee headcount or cost.

I hope that I could shed a bit more light into this CFO vs. Controller vs. Accountant/Bookkeeper topic.

This who is doing what in the Finance World is a hot and long argued topic, some might agree with my view and some might disagree. This is only my way of looking at this topic.


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