CHAPTER 2

Controller's Responsibilities

Importance of This Chapter

This chapter contains a detailed job description for the new controller. If you are new to the position, the number of tasks may at first seem overwhelming, since they cover so many subject areas. The best way to handle the situation is to first address crucial short-term issues like cash forecasting and meeting debt requirements, and then delegate tasks to the more capable staff, such as assistant controllers.

A controller's job can vary dramatically based on a company's size and whether it has other managers who handle related functions. If a company is small and there are few other managers, the controller may end up with a formidable list of tasks on the job description. However, as a company grows in size, the role becomes more precisely and narrowly defined. This chapter covers the full range of the activities that may be assigned to a controller, beginning with the classical management areas of planning, controlling, reporting, and maintaining key accounting processes, and expanding into ancillary functions that may become part of the controller's job, depending on the circumstances. In addition, the chapter touches on variations in the controller's title and why the term controller, though most commonly used, is perhaps not the best description for the job. The chapter concludes with a review of the relations between the controller and chief financial officer (CFO), the future job description of the controller, ...

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