There are two types of financial leadership roles in a business - controller and CFO.
There are two types of financial leadership roles in a business - controller and CFO. They are not the same and neither of these is the same role as accountant. Some companies combine the two but the roles are different and if your business has any significant size to it and is planning to grow, you need both. CFOs and controllers usually come from an accounting background and start off as accountants. The accountant's role is that of basic record keeping and financial reporting. Some call it score keeping or bean counting and I guess that's appropriate. When, as an accountant, you get really good at accounting and financial reporting and develop the ability to manage several different activities and supervise people, you can become a controller. This job is more than a bean counter role.
The controller role is a natural progression from accountant; however, CFO is not necessarily a natural progression from controller. You don't just get the CFO role because you spent x-number of years as a controller. As the CFO, you must know accounting and financial reporting - that is a given; however, your skill set better be much broader. A CFO has to understand the operations of the business and how the financial system interrelates with operations. You have to understand capital structures and business funding and you must know how to manage cash. You have to understand business risks - both financial and non financial - and know how to mitigate those risks. You have to know strategy and be able to see the big picture. And you must be able to make decisions. Finally, the one CFOs most often miss, you must understand people and be an effective communicator. In the CFO role if people are still calling you a bean counter, either they are very ignorant or you are doing something fundamentally wrong in the performance of your duties.
CFO and Controller Comparison
Analysis and Solutions Accurate Reporting
Financing and Forecasting Accounting and Reporting
Critical Key Indicators Standard Formats
New Views Existing Status
Planning and Implementing Budgeting
Big Picture Future Vision Reporting Here and Now
Functional Focus Financial Focus
Coach to Functional Managers Reporter
Walks Four Corners Stays in Financial Area
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