The controller and treasurer are both financial managers. However, their roles and skills in a business organisation differ. To help you decide which professional you need to hire, it is good to understand what each position entails.
The controller in a company is the head of accounts, supervising other accountants and overseeing the preparation of financial reports and auditing functions.
- monitor internal controls to reduce risks and create value
- understand past business activities
- analyse financial data
- prepare budgets
- take charge of the tax compliance, ensuring regulations are followed and deadlines are met
They report to the CFO in big organisations, but can be head of the finance department in smaller organisations.
Typically, a controller’s qualifications would include a degree in accounting, business, finance or economics. Given that their primary role is financial reporting and analysis and to maintain a robust functioning of the internal finance, a controller must be a licenced CPA with extensive experience in accounting and finance.
The treasurer protects the value and financial interests of the company from risks that may arise from business activities.
- manage the business’ cash flow
- interact and communicate with shareholders, bankers, and investors (current and potential ones)
- build and maintain healthy business relationships with banks
- obtain investment capital, loans and credit from outside sources
- invest company funds
- plan towards the future of the business and ensure financial goals are met
A treasurer no longer comes under the department of accounting, but the corporate treasury management.
A treasurer’s qualifications, similar to a controller’s, would include a degree in accounting, business, finance or economics. Apart from that, a treasurer must thoroughly understand the business and must be exceptional in communication with top management and other financial professionals.
Despite the different roles a controller and treasurer play, bot professionals must:
- have a keen eye for detail
- have organisational skills
- have excellent analytical and thinking skills
You may need to hire a controller and a treasurer; however, look at the needs of your company first before you decide which role you need to be filled.