CFO vs Controller Top 5 Differences with Infographics

treasurer vs controller vs cfo

Download our whitepaper Premium CFO Solutions to know how we can be your right hand in pushing your business forward. Unfortunately, speaking of treasurer vs. controller, it’s worth noting that getting both positions requires a consistent climb up the corporate ladder. Typically, workers start in small positions, doing minor accounting or sector auditing. Upon successful completion of tasks and the availability of potential, the specialist gets a promotion, reaching the desired position. Previously, these specialists may have simply been tracking financial statements, but now the treasurer should be much more advanced in macroeconomics.

We’ll address their scope, daily responsibilities, and hierarchy to help give you a better understanding of how CFOs and controllers impact your company. 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. However, differences in focus, execution and duties are apparent when the positions are distinct. Understanding the differences can be helpful when evaluating which professional best meets the needs of a company, or whether both might be necessary.

Financial Management

As a working student, I had to figure out how to study smarter, not harder. During this period, my interest in neurology and psychiatry, as well as my aspiration to help others, intensified. At Studybay, I use my knowledge, skills, and experience to develop helpful solutions for students and make their study paths more productive and fun. In general, the spectrum of responsibility of a modern treasurer goes far beyond the limits of the “coin master” or the finance manager.

treasurer vs controller vs cfo

Your financial controller is the person in your company that acts as the head of your accounting department. They oversee the preparation of financial reports, such as income statements and balance sheets. The CFO must report accurate information because many cfo vs controller decisions are based on the data they provide. The CFO is responsible for managing the financial activities of a company and adhering to generally accepted accounting principles adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory entities.

What Is a Chief Financial Officer (CFO)?

They are categorized as current assets on the balance sheet as the payments expected within a year. Accounts receivables is the money owed to a business by clients for which the business has given services or delivered a product but has not yet collected payment. In addition to the procedures, a controller needs to have extensive knowledge on the software that goes in to the financial business. The controller needs to have a complete and thorough knowledge of all the accounting procedures in a company. A good CFO should be able to influence how prices are set, efficiencies in the use of labor and assets and the optimum allocation of resources. As a result, a CFO should be able to improve profitability 1% to 2% of sales.

treasurer vs controller vs cfo

The skill sets of chief accounting officers and controllers are complementary, as both ultimately work in tandem to support the CFO. Treasurers and controllers may start off in the same entry-level positions, but usually their career paths diverge before they become financial managers. Treasurers need experience in jobs that deal with investing corporate funds, corporate debt financing and cash management.

How Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) Work

Here are some situations which often prompt small business owners to hire a CFO in addition to or instead of a controller. As a business grows, the complexity of accounting processes grows along with it. Bookkeepers are often not experienced enough to take ownership of these processes and make adjustments where needed. To give you a little more insight, here are some situations which prompt small business owners to hire a controller. We also use different external services like Google Webfonts, Google Maps, and external Video providers.

  • Now, robust financial management systems that automate billing, revenue recognition, accounting, financial reporting, financial planning, consolidation and compliance are the norm in competitive companies.
  • Financial controllers typically manage their organizations’ budget, audit and accounting departments, making them high-level financial managers.
  • As a working student, I had to figure out how to study smarter, not harder.
  • Define organizational structure and controls and discuss the difference between strategic and financial controls.
  • But a controller takes an active role in forecasting and strategizing for their company’s future.
  • In smaller companies, these roles are sometimes combined into a CFOO – Chief Finance and Operations Officer.

They are usually the head of BOD and help in protecting the interests of investors. If you believe there is a need for financial leadership in your organization, pleasecontact us here. We would be happy to schedule a complimentary consultation at your convenience to discuss your goals. Better support of CPA.During tax season or when participating in an audit, bookkeepers may not have the ability or experience necessary to support a CPA.

Controller Responsibilities Vary by Industry

The role of the treasury is to maintain the functioning of this circulatory system to get enough energy not only for survival but also for development. A modern treasurer is a specialist who interacts with financial risk management. Also, they are involved in controlling the liquidity of an organization and tracking its payments. At the same time, a treasurer doesn’t interact with real company funds — the work is carried out with financial data securities.

  • Additionally, controllers perform key leadership and advisory functions.
  • Plus, paying consultants to essentially work full time quickly becomes very expensive.
  • If the training is available and attainable, it makes sense to take the extra practice and training necessary to become a CFO if one is concerned with earning a more positive paycheck.
  • Someone who can show evidence that they can play “down” to the controller role.

Lead all financial operations, usually through the controller and finance directors. Advise the CEO, board of directors and executive team on all financial and operational matters. Controllers and CFOs have related but different skill sets that support their individual roles. When both are present within an organization, controllers and CFOs are interdependent, leveraging their talents to work together and help the entire financial organization achieve its objectives.

Additionally, the CFO is often responsible for overseeing the accounting and finance department and ensuring that the company complies with all applicable laws and regulations. Technology plays a vital role in the jobs of both financial controllers and CFOs. Now, robust financial management systems that automate billing, revenue recognition, accounting, financial reporting, financial planning, consolidation and compliance are the norm in competitive companies. These systems provide real-time visibility and efficient processing at all levels within the financial organization.

  • Both professions require at least a bachelor’s degree in business, economics, finance or a closely related field, though employers prefer treasurers and controllers with an MBA or master’s in finance.
  • Here, we’ll look at the differences between the two roles and the skills needed to excel.
  • Outsourced controllers are already trained in processes that save time.
  • But the functions noted under each are distinct and need to be addressed for every organization.
  • In some states, the state comptrollers can also work with the governor or state treasurer.

In recent years, the emphasis has shifted to position CFOs as true business partners. While they certainly need strong financial principles, it’s their ability to grow the company financially that counts. In a typical large organization, the Chief Financial Officer is the highest-ranking finance officer in the company.


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