What 10 Duties Is A Controller Responsible For in A Business

Curious about what a financial controller does and what their day-to-day job duties are. I spent years as a controller, and in this video I’m gonna tell you what you can expect.
So let’s talk about what a controller does. Now, a controller position is going to look slightly different depending upon the size of company that you’re at, but for the most part, these are the 10 main job functions I performed when I was a controller. And you can expect to be doing those when you’re a financial controller. So number one is ensuring proper internal controls. Now what you’ll do is you’ll develop and update accounting policies and procedures that are going to ensure things like the separation of duties, approval of disbursements, and any other control that’s going to help prevent fraud in the company. Now for publicly traded companies, this is going to include all the SOX requirements as well. All right. Number two is you will lead the accounting team. Unless you’re at a really small company where you are the entire accounting department, you will have staff supporting you.
So you’ll be responsible for training and developing your staff, as well as making sure that all of your staff is cross trained. Of course, with staff comes personnel issues. Now this includes interviewing and hiring your staff, dealing with conflicts that may come up, performance issues, as well as employee evaluations. Now, if you’re one who doesn’t wanna supervise others, what you’ll wanna consider is a position at a smaller company where you either won’t have staff or you’ll have very minimal staff. Now, number three is overseeing all of the accounting functions. You’ll be responsible for all of the accounting operations. Now, this includes accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger functions, financial reporting, and in the case of smaller companies, the payroll related activities as well. So to break this down, you might be the one who reviews invoices and ensures proper general ledger coding. You will ensure that vendors are being paid and customers are being billed, and collections are being made on those invoices.
And again, if it’s a small company, you’ll be the one that oversees the payroll functions as well. Okay, number four is overseeing the financial statement close process. Now, one of the main responsibilities you’re going to have is to produce the monthly financial statements and you’re gonna produce them on time. So you’ll be responsible for handling all of the month end as well as year end close processes. So plan on the first few weeks of your month, certainly the first several days being very busy, you may be making journal entries, reconciling accounts, reviewing the general ledger for coding errors, or you may be reviewing the work of your staff that’s performing these duties. Now, you’ll also be responsible for assembling any monthly financial packets that’s required for bank, compliance board meetings, or any other third party user. Okay, number five is performing financial analysis. Typically, you’ll be doing a fair amount of analysis on the financials, and this can include preparing monthly sales and gross profit analysis and other statistical reports.
This includes analyzing monthly operating results against the budget, preparing the month over month or year over year variance reporting, and also calculating operating metrics and making recommendations on ways to measure the performance of the company based on the financial results. Okay, number six is cash management. Now, in the absence of someone who exclusively handles the treasury operations, you’re the one that will handle cash management. Now this may include monitoring cashflow on multiple bank accounts. It can include preparing cashflow forecasts to distribute to executives, the management team so that you can make recommendations on treasury decisions, and also making cash transfers and initiating wires, when necessary. Number seven is budget and forecasting. You will be deeply involved in the annual budget process as well as developing forecasts and projections. Number eight is you’ll work very closely with outside accountants like auditors, tax preparers.
You’ll be heavily involved in any annual financial audits, including coordinating with the auditors and really serving as their main contact point during the audit. And you’ll also be providing information to the tax accountants such as financials, fixed asset information. And finally, once the tax returns are done, you’ll be given the tax returns a review and sign up on them. Okay, number nine is you’ll be handling the compliance and tax filings. Now, you may not be the one that prepares the tax returns, but you’ll be responsible for the accuracy and the timeliness of all returns and annual report filings. Along with income taxes, you may be responsible for sales tax, payroll tax, property tax, excise tax, W2 and 10 99 reporting, and any other tax filings that may apply. And finally, number 10, you’ll be working closely with company leaders. Now, the controller for a large company probably reports to the cfo, but the controller for a smaller company may be reporting directly to the owner.
But either way, you’ll be working directly with leaders at the companies. Now, this means that you may review financial statement and budget variances with departmental managers and discuss material variances or help them to understand trends that you see on the financials that will impact their department. Also, you’ll respond to questions from senior management regarding financial results, forecasts, and performance metrics. And you’ll be talking a lot to department leaders throughout that whole budget process that you’ll be doing every year. So those are the 10 main responsibilities of a controller. I hope this helps you better understand what a financial controller does. So come below and let me know which one of the 10 duties interests you the most. If this video was helpful, let me know by liking it, and please share with others who have careers in accounting as well. Also, for more accounting career videos, consider subscribing and click the bell so you’ll be notified when I post a new video. Thanks so much for watching. I’ll see you next time.

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