What Level of Financial Expertise Does Your Company Need?

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.

CFO
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

Controller
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

Bookkeeper
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.