Responsibilities of a Financial Controller in a Small Business

Are you frustrated with the state of your firm’s finances? You’re not alone. That happens to a lot of small business and nonprofit leaders. That’s the reason there is both supply and demand for outsourced financial controller services.

Many organizations start off thinking finances are simply about tax compliance. But by now, you probably realize there’s more to it than just keeping Uncle Sam satisfied. Maybe you’re bleeding cash and don’t know how to make it stop. Maybe you have a board meeting approaching, or an investor needs to see some hard data and an accompanying map to growth and profitability.

Or maybe it has begun to dawn on you that your financial branch can be a competitive advantage and open the doors to new opportunities. You just need solid numbers and someone who can interpret the story behind the numbers to begin to step ahead of the competition.

Is it really worth hiring an outsourced financial controller for your small business? What can an outsourced financial controller do? Let’s take a look….

How Financial Controllers are Helping Small Businesses in Denver and Detroit

Overall Accounting Oversight

A financial controller is responsible for ensuring that all accounting allocations are appropriately made and documented. In smaller companies, the controller may also perform cash management functions and oversee accounts payable, accounts receivable, cash disbursements, payroll and bank reconciliation functions. Every company should maintain a separation of duties with regards to accounting functions to ensure that there are checks and balances in the system.

For instance, if the controller is responsible for preparing cash disbursements, he or she should not be a signatory on the account; the owner, chief executive or chief financial officer should be required to sign all checks.

Establishing and Executing Internal Controls

A financial controller is responsible for establishing and executing internal controls over the company’s accounting and financial procedures. This includes reviewing and approving all invoices to be paid, as well as reviewing accounts receivable aging reports. In smaller companies, the controller will often handle collections on invoices, especially ones that are 45 days to 60 days overdue.

A financial controller is also responsible for coordinating with external tax accountants for income tax preparation and auditors who prepare internal audits of the company. This includes keeping company records organized and readily available for examination.

Financial Planning and Reporting

Financial controllers in smaller companies are responsible for all banking and finance activities. This includes negotiating lines of credit and vendor agreements, as well as reviewing all financial contracts, financing agreements and insurance policies. She is also responsible for providing accurate and comprehensive financial information to executive management for long-term financial strategizing. Unless a company has a CFO to provide the leadership for long-term financial planning, the controller will be required to fulfill this responsibility as well.

In any case, she must provide crucial financial data and work with executive management to coordinate all financial planning functions with business operations. Financial reporting duties include preparing financial statements, balance sheets, cash flow reports, budgets, budget-to-actuals and financial projections.

Explaining the Numbers

An outsourced controller will have a strong understanding of all functions of the typical accounting department, including accounts receivable, accounts payable, and payroll and clearing. But the right candidate will not simply show competence in accounting procedures. He or she will also be able to answer tough questions and manage others in your financial department. Your controller will relay difficult, dense information to upper management in a precise and easy-to-understand way. Controllers who are good communicators can also provide your company with valuable analysis and expert opinions on financial topics.

You Should Seriously Consider a Financial Controller If…

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. However, you should consider hiring an outsourced financial controller if:

  • You are growing rapidly and are uncertain of the financial effect of certain business decisions (buying a new facility, exploring a new revenue stream for the business, etc.).
  • You want accurate and timely information on the financial condition of your company.
  • You are spending too much time on accounting functions when you’d prefer to be focusing on business development.
  • You want to ensure you are in full tax compliance – state, local and federal.
  • You have large amounts of inventory and receivables that need to be managed with both an accounts payable and accounts receivable person, respectively.

The Bottom Line:

Whether you’re experiencing growth, you’ve had a reduction in staff or you just want to understand your company’s finances more in-depth, an outsourced financial controller may be the right fit for your company.  Having access to a financial expert can be invaluable to your business, providing peace of mind and helping to navigate complex financial situations.

Limitless Investment and Capital Outsourced Financial Controllers in Denver and Detroit

Our outsourced controller services are specifically designed to suit the exact needs of growing businesses. We are CPAs with extensive experience in financial management and controller services. They oversee all work completed by our full-time bookkeepers, close client books on a monthly or quarterly basis and provide consultations on a wide variety of client matters. Contact us TODAY!

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