What is the Difference Between a Controller and a Bookkeeper?

What is the difference between a Controller and a Bookkeeper?

When it comes to managing the financial aspects of a business, there are several roles that play a crucial part. Two of these roles are the controller and the bookkeeper. While both are important for maintaining the financial health of a company, they have distinct responsibilities and duties. In this article, we will explore the differences between a controller and a bookkeeper and how they contribute to the overall accounting services of a business.


A controller is a high-level financial manager who oversees the accounting operations of a company. They are responsible for creating and implementing financial policies and procedures, as well as analyzing financial data to make strategic decisions. A controller typically reports directly to the CEO or CFO and is involved in the overall financial planning and budgeting of the company.

Duties of a Controller


  • Developing and implementing financial policies and procedures
  • Preparing financial reports and statements
  • Analyzing financial data and providing insights to management
  • Overseeing the work of the bookkeeping and accounting team
  • Creating and managing budgets
  • Ensuring compliance with financial regulations and laws



A bookkeeper, on the other hand, is responsible for the day-to-day financial transactions of a company. They record and classify financial data, such as sales, purchases, and expenses, and maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records. Bookkeepers typically report to the controller or the accounting manager and work closely with them to ensure the accuracy of financial data.

Duties of a Bookkeeper


  • Recording and classifying financial transactions
  • Maintaining accurate and up-to-date financial records
  • Preparing and sending invoices to customers
  • Processing payments and managing accounts receivable and payable
  • Reconciling bank statements and other financial documents
  • Assisting with the preparation of financial reports and statements


Key Differences

The main difference between a controller and a bookkeeper is their level of responsibility and the scope of their duties. A controller is a higher-level position that involves strategic planning and decision-making, while a bookkeeper is more focused on the day-to-day financial transactions of a company. Additionally, a controller typically has a degree in accounting or finance, while a bookkeeper may have a certificate or associate’s degree in bookkeeping or accounting.


In summary, a controller and a bookkeeper both play important roles in the financial management of a company. While a controller oversees the overall financial operations and makes strategic decisions, a bookkeeper is responsible for recording and classifying financial transactions and maintaining accurate records. By understanding the differences between these two roles, businesses can ensure that their accounting services are properly managed and their financial health is maintained.

Get a Free Consultation