Position Description: Controller
Comments: The content of the following job description is based on the assumption that a controller has adequate support staff to handle day-to-day accounting transactions, leaving the controller in the role of managing the accounting department. If this is not the case, and especially if the controller is the only person in the accounting department, it is likely that the controller is really fulfilling the role of a bookkeeper.
Basic Function: The controller position is accountable for the accounting operations of the company, to include the production of periodic financial reports, maintenance of an adequate system of accounting records, and a comprehensive set of controls and budgets designed to mitigate risk, enhance the accuracy of the company's reported financial results, and ensure that reported results comply with generally accepted accounting principles or international financial reporting standards.
The scope of the controller position is much larger in a small business, where the position is also responsible for cash management and risk management. In a larger company, these added responsibilities are shifted to the treasurer and chief financial officer, respectively.
A variation on the controller title is the comptroller, which generally implies a more senior position, and which is more commonly found in government and nonprofit entities.
Maintains and enforces a documented system of accounting policies and procedures
Manage outsourced functions
Oversee the operations of the accounting department, including the design of an organizational structure adequate for achieving the department's goals and objectives
Oversee the accounting operations of subsidiary corporations, especially their control systems, transaction-processing operations, and policies and procedures
Ensure that accounts payable are paid in a timely manner
Ensure that all reasonable discounts are taken on accounts payable
Ensure that accounts receivable are collected promptly
Process payroll in a timely manner
Ensure that periodic bank reconciliations are completed
Ensure that required debt payments are made on a timely basis
Maintain the chart of accounts
Maintain an orderly accounting filing system
Maintain a system of controls over accounting transactions
Issue timely and complete financial statements
Coordinate the preparation of the corporate annual report
Recommend benchmarks against which to measure the performance of company operations
Calculate and issue financial and operating metrics
Manage the production of the annual budget and forecasts
Calculate variances from the budget and report significant issues to management
Provide for a system of management cost reports
Provide financial analyses as needed, in particular for capital investments, pricing decisions, and contract negotiations
Monitor debt levels and compliance with debt covenants
Comply with local, state, and federal government reporting requirements and tax filings
If the company is a small one, then the controller likely assumes the responsibilities of the chief financial officer
Desired Qualifications: The controller candidate should have a Bachelor's degree in accounting or business administration, or equivalent business experience and 10+ years of progressively responsible experience for a major company or division of a large corporation. Preference will be given to candidates with the Certified Public Accountant or Certified Management Accountant designations.
Working Conditions: Primarily in an office environment. Will be expected to travel as needed to company subsidiaries, as well as to potential acquirees to conduct due diligence. Periodic weekend or evening work is expected.
Supervises: All accounting staff