What is a Financial Controller? Does My Business Need One?

As a small business owner, you wear many hats—your manager hat, your customer service rep hat, your sales associate hat. You may even wear an accounting hat. But as your small business continues to scale, so do your responsibilities. This can make balancing your many hats an even greater challenge. 

To lighten your load without compromising the success of your business, you may want to consider hiring a financial controller. 

But what is a financial controller? And how can they be an asset to my business? 

To understand how your small business can benefit from hiring a financial controller, we’ve built you a roadmap. In this guide, we will explore everything you need to know about this invaluable position, including their specialized skills and everyday responsibilities.

Financial Controllers: Roles and Responsibilities 

A financial controller works as the lead accounting executive of a business. They are responsible for overseeing all accounting operations to ensure the business is running as effectively and efficiently as possible. 

Think of your financial controller as the human version of your accounting software. They are experts in the language of numbers. They understand how to interpret data to create accurate financial reports and budgets. And they can identify growth opportunities or internal weaknesses that need to be addressed. 

All those financial terms you previously had to Google? They can explain them to you firsthand. Based on the size of your business, a financial controller’s daily responsibilities can include: 

  • Keeping accurate and organized financial records 
  • Publishing reports that comply with legal and financial regulations 
  • Coordinating with tax accountants and ensuring compliance with tax filing regulations
  • Creating budgets 
  • Preparing monthly financial statements
  • Developing accounting policies to streamline operations 
  • Overseeing cash flow and debt collection 
  • Identifying areas of improvement within the company
  • Managing accounting staff 
  • Managing accounting operations, including billing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory accounting, cost accounting, revenue recognition, and general ledger 
The Role of Financial Controllers in Small Businesses

For small businesses that do not employ a full accounting staff, a financial controller can act as an entire accounting team. This means taking on additional responsibilities, which can include payroll management and collection of overdue invoices. 

With a thorough understanding of your business’ expenses and needs, your financial controller can also work to identify areas where costs can be cut and money can be saved. For instance, your financial controller can negotiate improved lines of credit with your bank, reassess vendor agreements to ensure you are benefiting from the best deals possible, and streamline office operations in order to maximize your profits. 

Your financial controller can also take on the role of your chief operating officer (COO), leading your business in strategic financial planning. This means managing your business’ finances and analyzing your finances to determine how to best price and market your platform. 

In fact, an important factor in growing your business is interpreting market data and trends to identify how you can capitalize on them. With expert knowledge in financial forecasting, your financial controller can analyze these trends alongside your business’ financial projections to help you make the most advantageous business decisions possible. 

Plus, because these decisions are based on data, there is minimal risk involved. 

In this way, you can think of yourself as the captain of your small business vessel, and your financial controller as your first mate. They help you steer through the tumultuous waters of small business management in order to reach new horizons of financial success. 

The Benefits of Hiring a Financial Controller

Aside from guiding you toward business decisions that can improve your bottom line, a financial controller can also save you money by guaranteeing accounting accuracy. 

When it comes to your company’s finances, there is no room for error. 

With a background in accounting and a keen eye for detail, a financial controller can maintain accurate records, and stay on top of your business’ transactions. This means you do not have to worry about any incoming or outgoing payments slipping through the cracks, resulting in late fees, penalties, or debt. It also ensures a stress-free experience if an external auditor requests access to any financial documents. 

With a financial controller overseeing the accounting operations and finances of your small business, you can commit more time to your other responsibilities (like scaling the business, for instance). 

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Building personal relationships with your customers 
  • Providing a high standard of service and top-quality products 
  • Hiring and training employees 
  • Managing your day-to-day operations
  • Expanding your market 
  • Creating partnerships with other small business owners 
What to Look for in a Financial Controller 

When looking to hire a financial controller, you want to find someone who has the proper qualifications and understands your business’ specific needs. An exceptional financial controller will be able to grow in tandem with your company, seeing beyond current goals to even higher levels of potential.  

To effectively carry out their first mate responsibilities, your financial controller should also be able to: 

  • Offer innovative solutions
  • Think critically 
  • Analyze and interpret numerical data
  • Perform under pressure 
  • Stick to tight deadlines
  • Communicate financial strategies 
  • Demonstrate leadership 
  • Collaborate with your team 
CFO Hub: Financial Experts at Your Fingertips

Hiring a financial controller to help manage your accounting operations can be hugely beneficial to you and your small business. But it’s not a decision to take lightly. After all, your finances play a critical role in the growth and success of your business. 

That’s why you need an experienced financial controller you can count on to be organized, accurate, and goal-oriented. And like any smart business decision, it’s not something to be left to chance. Fortunately, when you choose CFO Hub, there’s no chance involved. 

With CFO Hub, you can find experts who can provide services from financial statement preparation to accounting staff management and everything in between. Traditionally, small businesses didn’t have the budget to hire an in-house controller. With us, our outsourced model allows you to scale up or down, and choose a service tailored to your business’ specific need profile. 

So if you’re researching the definition of a financial controller, that’s probably because you need one. For that, you’re in the right place. 

We’ve first-mated ships through quagmires, hurricanes, and beyond. 

Welcome to CFO Hub.