It is important to understand the roles and capabilities of each of these positions and to evaluate your needs and expectations accordingly. For example sometimes business owners think they need a CFO, but they really need solid bookkeeping and controller oversight. Or they expect their bookkeeper to analyze their monthly financial results and point out important trends, but to do that well really requires a CFO. For small businesses the challenge is obtaining the right mix of finance staff at an affordable cost.
What is a bookkeeper?
A Bookkeeper records vendor bills, creates customer invoices, makes collections calls, reconciles bank and credit card accounts, and makes various other accounting entries on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Except for very small or early stage businesses where owners are able to record the small number of transactions themselves, outside bookkeeping is often the first financial position engaged as the owners’ time is best spent on higher value activities.
What is a controller?
A Controller is responsible for managing (“controlling”) the accounting of a business including policies and operational procedures. Controllers manage the monthly closing of the books to produce accurate financial statements and must have significant accounting experience. They also support the budgeting and reporting process. Startups sometimes engage a part-time controller in order to keep their books in order until they grow large enough to need and to afford a full-time Controller.
What is a CFO?
A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is a senior executive responsible for financial planning and analysis, financial projections, cash planning and fundraising, capital allocation, merger and acquisition support, and the overall finance and accounting function. Because the CFO is a senior executive role (and thus expensive), most small businesses and even many midsize businesses with millions of dollars in revenue engage a part-time CFO to keep costs affordable while getting the strategic support they need.
SmartBooks provides a comprehensive solution with our staff skilled as both Bookkeeper, Controller, and CFO. Most of our services are at the Bookkeeper and Controller level. CFO support is provided by founder Calvin Wilder and more extensive needs are met by our network of independent part-time CFOs. If you are uncertain what you need or are having trouble finding the right solution, to discuss your specific situation please contact Calvin Wilder at firstname.lastname@example.org or (978) 202-3064 x700. If SmartBooks is not a fit, we will introduce you to the expertise in our best-of-breed network of service providers.
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