The comptroller is responsible for the accounting operations of a business. The term is somewhat archaic, and has been replaced by the term “controller,” with the exception of the public and nonprofit sectors. Since the position is most commonly found in the government sector (especially in state governments), the comptroller is more likely to be knowledgeable in fund accounting.

The comptroller position is responsible for the following:

  • Manages the entire accounting staff.

  • Maintains a system of controls to ensure that assets are used appropriately.

  • Manages the processing of all accounting transactions, which is supported by a detailed set of policies, procedures, and forms. Accounting transactions typically include billings, accounts payable, payroll, collections, and cash receipts.

  • Maintains a chart of accounts and general ledger, from which are compiled a set of financial statements.

  • Assists both internal and external auditors with their examinations of the organization’s financial reports and controls.

Someone in the comptroller position typically has at least a four-year degree in accounting, and may have also acquired a certification, such as the CPA or CMA certifications.

The comptroller reports to the chief financial officer position. If there is no chief financial officer, then the comptroller reports directly to the most senior executive position within the organization.

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7 Habits of Effective Controllers 
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