Controllers, comptrollers — what do those finance gurus get up to during the day? And how do you know if you need one for your business?
To get to the bottom of what chief accounting officers do, when they do it, and why they do it, we chatted with Kristin Rider, one of Acuity’s longtime controllers. Based in Little Rock, Arkansas, Kristin’s day is surprisingly fluid, totally client-focused, and always conducted from her home office. To get the details on what the rest of her day looks like — and to find out what makes her job so great — read on.
So, what does a controller do all day?
Lots! A controller’s primary role is to oversee all of the accounting-related activities within a company, which means their day-to-day often includes the management of people, departments, and company policies. I also often review work and current processes, prepare financial statements, consult with management to make data-driven decisions, and build new, streamlined systems to help the company perform as efficiently as possible.
Is there a difference between a bookkeeper and a controller?
While bookkeeper typically keeps up with the weekly tasks like accounts payable, receivable, and cash reconciliation, a controller is primarily an upper-level position to ensure that systems are efficient, completed work is correct, and the company is making the best decisions they can.
What does a normal day look like for a controller?
That’s the best part — I’m not sure there is a “normal day” for a controller. One day I may be reviewing the accounts and preparing financials and the next day I’ll be writing new policies for my client. I really enjoy the flexibility of my job and knowing that not every day will be the same. I like that there are challenges to figure out and knowing that I can help out a company that needs it.
What accounting software do you prefer to work with?
I like cloud-based accounting solutions — they allow users to log in from virtually anywhere to complete. I think every accounting packages has positives and negatives, so for that reason, I’m not tied to one.
And finally, what makes what you do so great?
Acuity has a great team of bookkeepers, controllers, and CFOs and we are so passionate about helping small businesses reach their financial potential, especially when it comes to technology. We’re implementing processes that just don’t exist in other firms, so we’re streamlining the systems and making the necessary daily work that much easier. And I think the thing that really separates us from the pack is our honesty — we’re always going to tell you what we think would work best, even if it means not working with us.