CFO vs Controller

Difference Between CFO and Controller

A chief financial officer CFO of an organization is a senior executive assigned with the task of managing companies affairs especially from the point of view of finance and money where his/her work is to manage effective procurement for new expenditure, investments of existing idle cash flow, utilization in the optimum manner and analyses of organization’s financial strength and weakness; whereas controller is primarily responsible for financial reporting, record keeping, management of information technology and accounting and therefore they are mainly the people from accounting background as opposed to finance and banking background of CFO.

CFO stands for a chief financial officer for a company and comes directly below the CEO of the company. CFO controls and manages everything related to finance in a company. Controller, on the other hand, reports directly to the CFO of the company and makes sure the day to day operations relating to finance is executed and run properly.

Who is a CFO?

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Who is a Controller?

CFO vs Controller Infographics

Let’s see the top differences between CFO vs Controller.

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Key Differences

CFO vs Controller Comparative Table

Basis CFOController
DefinitionCFO stands for a chief financial officer for a company. The rank of a CFO in an organization comes just below that of a CEO.The controller makes sure that the day to day operations relating to finance is executed and run properly.
HierarchyThe rank of a CFO within the organization comes just below the CEO.They rank below the CFO in the hierarchy of an organization
DivisionsThere is three important division which reports directly to the CFO of a company. Those three divisions are a controller, treasurer, and tax manager.Under the controller, there are four more divisions that directly reports to the controller. Those four divisions are accounting manager, financial planning manager, accounts receivable manager, and accounts payable manager.
FunctionThough the responsibilities of CFO are overlooking everything related to finance, his primary role is to make forward-looking budgeting, projections, planning, and other forward-looking financial strategies.The controller is responsible for approving all day to day transactions within the organization and creates recurring and monthly reports for the same. Its function also includes keeping track of all the accounts receivables and accounting payable for the company.
Joint RanksThe rank of a CFO in an organization comes just below that of a CEO. The rank is similar to other positions like a chief operating officer (COO), chief information officer (CIO) and chief marketing officer (CMO).A controller’s rank is similar to the ranks of treasurer and the tax manager of a company.

Conclusion

In a large organization, it is important to have divisional and sub-divisional heads in order to look after the smooth function of the various roles. That’s why the roles of heads like CFO and controller plays a very important part in the functioning and decision making in an organization. A CFO on papers is responsible for anything to do with finance in a company.

But as it not possible for one person to look after everything he has divisions who directly report to him. One of those important divisions is that of a controller who is responsible for mainly manage the day to day finance operations which includes accounts receivables and accounts payable. The CFO has to make all the critical decisions related to finance like cash flow projections, budgeting, making a decision on which project to choose, and also take care of all the impacts of accounting changes.

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