When companies approach me seeking financial expertise, they are often unsure what type of financial role or position will best accomplish their goals. However, there are a variety of factors that can affect this decision, including company size, growth potential, current internal resources, the state of finances and more.
Even as a practicing CFO, after evaluating a company’s status and needs, I find myself recommending other financial experts, such as controllers, bookkeepers and accounting managers. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common financial positions and what type of expertise will be provided.
A high-level executive who manages all financial matters and decision making.
Responsibilities: Leadership of the company’s financial and administrative functions, capital formation, investor relations, business development, budgeting, forecasting, risk management and financial analysis
Experience: 15+ years with private equity, investment banking, legal and financial community and private industry; may require experience specific to a particular industry or company size
Education: Degree in finance, accounting or related field; MBA preferred, Plus CPA or CMA
A management-level employee who supervises a company’s financial and accounting reporting. Often reports to the CFO.
Responsibilities: Generates financial statements, creates management reporting packages, KPIs and dashboards, provides strategic and tactical support for funding activities, develops financial policies and procedures, oversees accounting and internal controls
Experience: 7+ years with billing, general ledger software, spreadsheets, system databases, management, establishment of policies and procedures
Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, management or related field; Plus CPA or a MBA
Accountant or Assistant Controller
Responsible for financial report preparation and analysis of company performance. Often reports to the Controller.
Responsibilities: Month- and year-end reporting, payroll processing, accounts payable, accounts receivable, support and collaboration with other financial executives, internal control monitoring
Experience: 5+ years with A/P, A/R, payroll, accounting software platforms, administrative duties related to operations and accounting
Education: Bachelor’s degree, preferably in accounting
Oversees the fundamental, day-to-day financial recording and reporting, as well as retaining financial documentation.
Responsibilities: Administers invoices to suppliers and/or customers, prepares financial statements and reports, manages cash flow, obtains receipts, reconciles accounts, prepares sales tax returns, purchasess office supplies and equipment, maintains orderly accounting filing system
Experience: Data entry, information analysis, reporting, accounting, compliance rules for local, state and federal reporting
Education: Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in accounting or business administration, as well as a knowledge of bookkeeping and basic, generally accepted accounting principles.
To determine which financial position is best for your company, evaluate what tasks you need accomplished—from a CFO’s high-level decision making to a bookkeeper’s day-to-day invoicing and receipt processing. Whether your company needs a CFO, controller, accountant or bookkeeper, your business will greatly benefit from sound financial expertise.