Controller vs CFO: What Does My Small Business Need?


But there are plenty of ways to differentiate between the two roles, so let’s address them one by one. If you start off selling just one product or product line, this will be fairly straightforward to manage. But as time goes on, you’ll probably expand your range and number of SKUs; you might also be working with multiple suppliers (all of whom have their own payment schedules and terms) instead of one supplier. A full-time CFO can also travel with you to visit prospective targets—a plus for firms looking to grow through acquisition. The CFO is an executive, working in the c-suite along with the CEO, COO, or any other executive-level employees. Check out our subscription metrics analytics tool to nail down what is affecting your revenue now.

At some companies, financial controllers are involved in evaluating and selecting technology for use within the finance department or other related departments within the organization. A SaaS controller is a senior finance executive who oversees the accounting operations and financial planning for a software-as-a-service company. As SaaS businesses operate on a subscription-based model with recurring revenue, the controller plays a key role in forecasting, CFO vs Finance Controller: Whom Does your SaaS Business Need? budgeting, and ensuring the company’s finances are managed effectively. A chief financial officer (CFO) is the senior executive responsible for managing the entire financial well-being of a company. For example, a CFO can strategize cost-cutting measures, suggest ways to increase revenue, or identify investment opportunities to improve profitability. In conclusion, understanding the differences between a Controller vs a CFO is essential for any business.

Finance team hierarchy

Reporting builds upon record keeping; here, you’re translating your records to information that managers or business owners can use to fine-tune their processes. First, consider the size of your organization and the complexity of your financial affairs. In general, larger organizations with more complex financial needs will benefit from having a dedicated financial controller on staff. If your business is still in the startup phase, it may not be generating enough income to justify the expense of hiring a CFO. However, if you’re seeing steady growth and your revenue is starting to plateau, bringing on a CFO can help you take things to the next level. Financial controllers also develop and implement policies and procedures to safeguard the organization’s assets and minimize risk.

CFO vs Finance Controller: Whom Does your SaaS Business Need?

Understanding the differences between a controller and a CFO is essential for any business looking to remain competitive in today’s economy. The Controller is responsible for ensuring accuracy in financial reporting by analyzing procedures and internal controls. They are also involved in budgeting and forecasting, but their main focus is on the organization’s current financial position.

Can a fractional CFO service increase SaaS enterprise value?

A controller is responsible for creating, managing and interpreting financial statements while a CFO focuses more on strategic planning and using financial data to inform decisions. Therefore, depending on the size of a business, hiring either one or both positions may be necessary in order to run an efficient accounting department. A smaller organization may only require one person with knowledge of both roles while larger organizations may need separate employees for each job title dedicated solely to their area of expertise. By understanding when it is necessary to hire either a Controller or CFO for their small business, entrepreneurs can make better decisions about their company’s financial future. CFOs focus is on long-term strategic financial planning and growth working closely with the CEO; they make decisions based on analysis of the accounting department as well as the sales and marketing departments. CAOs usually hold a degree in finance, accounting, or economics, and many hold a certified public accountant (CPA) license.

  • They ensure that the organization’s financial statements are accurate and comply with applicable laws and regulations.
  • As your needs expand, you’ll increase the level of engagement accordingly—all the way to full-time dedicated resources.
  • When you’re growing a SaaS business, an outsourced CFO with a deep understanding of the industry can make all the difference.
  • In this article, we’ll discuss how small businesses can benefit from outsourcing their finance and accounting departments.
  • Someone who is already familiar with the financial issues facing your particular field won’t require much time to get up to speed.

But as revenue grows and operations become more complex, it helps to bring on a seasoned SaaS controller. A CFO drives this future planning process, with assumptions that can be defined. These defined assumptions for the future allow you to fully understand your business plan, as well as give you a basis for future management discussion and analysis if budgeted numbers are not achieved. Again, a CFO is there to hold key management accountable to defined assumptions.