The Controller Checklist- When is it time to Hire a Controller?

4 min read
3/23/23 3:10 PM

Almost every business decision you make has a monetary effect on your firm. After all, your business's longevity and success depend on tracking sales, paying taxes, managing accounts payable and receivable, processing payroll, and handling employee reimbursements. While managing these diverse responsibilities may have been simple for the business owner initially, it gets more challenging as the company expands, and these tasks divert attention from the more crucial revenue-generating operations CEOs should concentrate on. 

Soon enough these questions arise: "Can I handle the business’s finances by myself, or do I need some kind of financial management support?" "How do I know that my business is ready for this kind of change and evolution?" As a business owner, you'll often realize that the answers to such questions are actually pretty clear. 

In this article, we will help you determine when hiring a fractional controller is ideal. We will highlight some of their primary functions, how they help your financial department, and the best ways to find a top-quality controller. Let's dive in. 


Who Is a Controller and What Do They Do? 

A controller is a fiscal specialist who links your company's financial operations to its accounting operations. They manage your company's cash flow by connecting the funds to all departments (sales, marketing, etc.) and making recommendations to executives about where the funds should go based on their knowledge. 

The role of a controller includes handling accounting functions and record-keeping and overseeing a company's financial operations and regulatory compliance. Additionally, the controller might manage other corporate-wide projects like those in IT, HR, insurance, sales tax reporting, and federal revenue tax reporting, among others. 

A controller's primary duties may include the following: 


  • Developing a financial strategy: A controller might directly collaborate with other executives to focus on growth ideas. Their financial knowledge and experience are critical when deciding on important decisions for your company's future. 
  • Accounting oversight: Even while your controller might not be in charge of the minute details of everyday accounting operations, they can offer a critical eye and oversee several duties. A controller manages budget tracking, payroll processes, and regulatory compliance. 
  • Financial analysis: Keeping track of and evaluating your financial data is essential to your company's overall profitability. Your controller may provide critical analysis as they evaluate business data, spotting financial trends, and offering comparative statistics to ensure your company's competitive advantage. 

When Does My Company Need a Controller? 

It's not easy for a small business owner to decide whether to hire a financial controller. These positions require a highly qualified and experienced professional, and such a valuable employee requires an investment. As a result, many put off employing a controller in a bid to lower operational costs. 

However, having a team member with the qualifications, expertise, and experience of a financial controller would be beneficial if your company is dealing with any of the issues listed below: 

You're Experiencing Rapid Growth and Expansion 

When you're scaling your firm, and it grows increasingly sophisticated as you add business segments or establish new locations, your operations may become disjointed. When you get to this point, you'll need assistance from someone who can generate your financial statistics and offer suggestions on the best utilization of your resources and ways to minimize expenses. "Enter Financial Controller."  

You Need Better Financial Reporting Practices 

The easiest method to identify any problems affecting your company's financial health is to keep track of your financial records and check them regularly. Consider hiring a controller if you don't have time or an efficient way to evaluate financial statements. The controller will prepare reports promptly and systematically, giving you the necessary information to make business decisions. 

You Need Increased Compliance With the La

Staying on top of financial rules might be challenging, but a financial controller can ensure the business complies with all pertinent laws, such as tax codes and accounting standards. They will perform internal and external audits on your financial records to ensure they are accurate and comply with federal regulations on financial reporting. Without this level of supervision, you risk incurring penalties, harming your company's brand due to non-compliance, or even getting into more serious difficulties, like prosecution, closure, and bans. 


Your Financial Staff Are Overworking 

Your CFO may be able to perform those tasks if your company lacks a controller. But, if they are having trouble managing their responsibilities as chief strategy, managing the accounting department, or ensuring financial compliance, you'll need the expertise and skills of a controller. They will relieve the burden by concentrating on managing the accounting team daily and giving the CFO the data they need to produce accurate financial predictions that will support future strategic business choices. 


What Are the Best Ways to Find a Controller? 

When looking for a financial controller for your business, it is vital to ensure that your chosen candidate is in the company's best interest. But where do you find someone who fits the description? Below are the places to begin your search for your financial controller: 


Promote Within 

You may have existing employees that fit the description for the controller role. It is advantageous to elevate a competent senior accountant who is looking for leadership opportunities, embodies the values of your company,  and is familiar with all aspects of operations. 


Hire Outside 

If your business does not have a succession plan in place to promote an existing employee or simply doesn't have someone with the necessary qualifications, you can always hire outside talent. It won't take long for a talented person with experience in various industries and software to join the team and become proficient. 



Alternatively, if you don't have enough financial resources to support a full-time controller, you can find a person who has gained firsthand knowledge of best practices from a competent financial controller service. Outsourced controllers look at your current practices,streamline them to your advantage. 


At Dillon Business Advisors, we pair companies with a team of financial advisors that assume the part-time responsibilities of CFO, Controller, and Client Service Manager in a manner that suits your company's needs, financial situation, and objectives. Contact us today and take your business to the next level. 

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