There’s an easy answer to that question, actually. It’s a matter of looking at your projects and finding the trained professional who is qualified to do the work. Re-wiring an old house? Choose the electrician. Determining what to do about the slope in the backyard? Choose the landscaper.
But when it comes to the financial management of your company, you need a bookkeeper right? Or an accountant. Or a controller. Or a CFO.
Not so straightforward anymore.
Let’s break each role down so you can match your business size and its needs to the right financial management professional.
Bookkeeper
This is the clerical role charged with recording the day-to-day financial transactions of the business. These individuals typically have 2-4 years of experience and some of them have an associate’s degree in accounting. They are typically the first employees hired within the company and they tend to the back-office activities as they ramp up.
Accountant/CPA
In this case, we define an accountant as the outside professional who performs audit and tax work. Accountants generally have a college degree and work for a CPA firm. They focus on compliance and are hired to perform annual engagements for companies, like tax return preparation and audits.
Controller
This is a working manager role in many companies, as these people typically supervise the financial department or accounting function. They are responsible for financial reporting and analysis, along with internal controls and compliance with tax laws and government reporting requirements. A controller also handles cash planning, budgeting, benefits, insurance and risk management, and other fiduciary responsibilities.
CFO
A CFO is a leader specializing in planning, analysis, and strategy. A typical CFO has a variety of financial management experience, most notably in the operations of a company, and they do not usually come from a compliance-only background. They focus on cash flow, systems and planning, along with the company’s overall health. Their job is to look at the big picture – the environment, the competition, growth plans – and advise the owner on strategic approaches to achieve the company’s goals. In short, the CFO is the owner’s right hand.
Unless you are a large corporation, you don’t have a need for all these positions to run your financial management activities. But small- and mid-size companies can benefit from a higher level of financial expertise in their organization. By using outsourced services to supplement your existing talent, you can achieve an increase in expertise at a reasonable cost.
Call us to find out how we can customize a financial management plan for your business, so you can grow with confidence.