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From Balancing Books to Guiding Strategies: Unpacking the Responsibilities of CFO, Controller, and B

As a business owner, it is important to understand the roles of various financial professionals to make informed decisions for your company. In the financial world, there are three distinct roles that are often thought of interchangeably: CFO, Controller, and Accounting Backoffice services. However, there are key differences between each of these roles.

The CFO, or Chief Financial Officer, is a senior executive responsible for a company's financial operations. The CFO makes strategic decisions regarding financial matters, such as mergers and acquisitions, investment opportunities, and performance management. They also oversee financial planning and analysis, risk management, and accounting functions within the organization. CFOs must have a strong understanding of financial statements, forecasting, budgets, and cash flow management. They typically work closely with the CEO and the board of directors to ensure the financial health and growth of the company. The CFO relies on past information but uses that information to move the business forward.

The Controller, on the other hand, is a mid-level financial professional responsible for overseeing an organization's accounting and finance department. The Controller ensures that financial data is accurate and up to date, prepares financial statements and reports, manages financial compliance, and evaluates internal controls. Controllers are also responsible for ensuring that financial transactions are properly recorded and accounted for in accordance with relevant accounting standards, tax regulations, and company policies. They typically report directly to the CFO and oversee other accounting professionals within the organization.

Accounting Backoffice services are typically provided by professional services firms that specialize in providing accounting, bookkeeping, and tax services to businesses of all sizes. These services can include everything from daily bookkeeping and accounting tasks to more specialized functions such as payroll processing, tax preparation and filing, and financial reporting. Accounting Backoffice services can be a cost-effective solution for organizations that wish to outsource their accounting functions rather than hiring in-house staff. By using these services, companies can focus their resources on core business operations while ensuring that their financial obligations are properly managed.

In conclusion, while CFOs, Controllers, and Accounting Backoffice services all share some similarities, they each perform distinct functions within an organization. The CFO is responsible for strategic financial decision-making at the executive level, the controller oversees the day-to-day accounting functions, and Accounting Backoffice services provide specialized support and services to businesses of all sizes. Understanding these differences will help you make informed decisions about which financial professionals or services are right for your organization.

How can Sharon McCann & Associates, LLC (SMA) help your business make informed financial decisions?

SMA has a team of highly knowledgeable accounting professionals who help clients make informed financial decisions. SMA will put clarity around your financial objectives, evaluate the firm’s financial pain points and ensure your SMA accounting team is the best team to deliver those results for your organization.

Contact Sharon McCann at or 908-888-2509 to learn more about our CFO and Controller fractional services and our Backoffice monthly subscription services for day-to-day transactions. If your firm runs on EOS™, we do too!

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