The Controller's Job
Today's corporation operates in an increasingly complex environment, where there are far too many activities for a chief executive officer (CEO) to keep track of. To an increasing degree, this monitoring function falls on the shoulders of the controller, who must keep the CEO apprised of the performance of all departments, product sales, costs and profits, control issues in a variety of transaction processing systems, and the impact of new government taxes and other regulations on the conduct of the business. Thus, the controller can reasonably be compared to the ship's navigator, who warns the captain of current or foreseeable problems in the shoals of the business environment that lie ahead and on all sides. In this chapter, we explore the main functions of the controller, what kind of background a controller should have, the positions reporting to the controller, and the role of ethics in the conduct of the job.
Main Job Functions
The controller has a number of distinct job functions. The first four are ones that can be ascribed to any manager in any department. The last two are more specialized and do not refer to management skill. The six functions are:
1. Planning. The controller is responsible for determining who does the work, what work is to be done, and the timing of work completion in the accounting department, especially in regard to the timely processing of transactions and the issuance of accurate financial statements. This also extends ...