It’s time to hire a bookkeeper. Or does the company really need a controller? Your business is growing and tracking finances takes time and expertise. Many Controller onDemand clients ask me the difference between a Bookkeeper and a Controller. Understanding the difference is important for managing your growth and profitability or it could be costing you money.

Here are 5 key points to help you recognize what you need:

  1. Tasks Bookkeeper just does the data entry.  Controllers do much more. Controllers manage your accounting and finances.  Controllers manage the cash flow, create budgets, work with your bank for financing and much more.  Controllers are able to give you a higher level of services and support much more than your average bookkeeper.
  2. Education A Controller has at least an Accounting degree, if not more education.  Most bookkeepers do not have an Accounting degree. Why does this make a difference?  Having an Accounting degree you have been educated on the back end of the bookkeeping.  Software products such as QuickBooks do most of the work these days, but you need to know when something on your Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss or Cash Flow statement looks wrong and how to fix it.  Without being properly educated on what everything should look like it’s hard to know when something is wrong
  3. Financials Bookkeepers don’t do financials.  Although some can run financials, most cannot review or analyze them.  If you’re looking to review monthly financials with a knowledge professional, a Controller would be a better fit.
  4. Growth Bookkeeper cannot help your business grow.  Controllers on the other hand can make recommendations on tracking revenue or expenses differently to help you facilitate growth in the right areas.  Not only can a Controller help your company grow, they can prepare you for future endeavors.
  5. Acquisitions Bookkeeper’s skills are also limited here.  A Controller can help your business prepare for an acquisition or merger of your companies financials.   

Bottom line, the skill and capabilities of a Controller over a Bookkeeper are tremendously higher.  Make sure you hire the right experienced professional for your company’s specific needs.

Controller or a Bookkeeper — What does my business need?

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