Call today to book your appointment!

Medway MA, CPA

Contact Directions facebookLinkdIntwitter

The Bean Counter with Ann M Irons, CPA

Tax Year 2023 Corporate/Individual Tax Returns

Bookkeeper, Controller, or CFO: How Do You Choose?

Posted by Ann Irons, CPA

Mar 28, 2014 8:39:00 AM

bookkeeping-accounting-in-bellingham-maHere's a key difference between entrepreneurs and everyone else in the world: When matters become so complex that a single individual can no longer manage business affairs on their own, the Average Joe goes into panic mode. Business owners, on the other hand, take a dramatically different viewpoint. This isn't a problem--this is growth! It's exciting, an indication that you're doing something right. Now, this is where things get tricky. Growth is great, but it's precious. You can't bring in just anybody to cultivate and manage this growth, especially where your finances are concerned. Ann Irons, a CPA in Bellingham, MA, explains your options.

The Basics: Bookkeeper, Controller, and CFO

Let’s examine the basic requirements and responsibilities of each role:

A bookkeeper maintains a detailed record of all transactions that involve your business. These can include invoices, expenses, orders, payments, and checks. If money exchanges hands, a bookkeeper is there to document it. For example, small business bookkeeping services provided by Ann and her team include accounts payable and accounts receivable, payroll, and accounting data entry. Your bookkeeper will use multiple processes and streamlined systems to ensure that all transactions are documented accurately and in a timely manner. Mail sorting and account consolidation services are also available to business owners in the Bellingham area.

A controller, usually a CPA, uses transaction data from the business books to create financial statements, such as balance sheets, statements of cash flow, and income statements for each accounting period. Ideally, your controller should have significant formal experience in accounting and finance. Your controller will be held responsible for ensuring compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. As a CPA, Ann is committed to maintaining current knowledge of all relevant tax laws, accounting requirements, and regulations at the local, state, and federal levels.

A chief financial officer, or CFO, is an executive-level role with the power to make strategic financial decisions on behalf of the company and its investors. In other words, a CFO is focused on the future, whereas a controller primarily works with financial matters that have already taken place. A CFO may make decisions using financial statements prepared by the controller, and at the same time is responsible for ensuring that the company has procedures and processes in place for accurate and relevant reporting—key performance indicators, for example, or financial structure.

Does Your Business Need a CFO?

Most small to medium business owners find that a bookkeeper, controller, or combination of the two is sufficient to keep the financial side operating smoothly. This will depend in part on how active you are in the accounting function of your company, as well as your comfort level with various financial instruments. For example, if you operate from your home and have no other locations, you could feasibly perform your own basic bookkeeping functions. However, many business owners prefer to outsource these tasks, allowing them to take a more hands-on approach. Other factors that suggest the need for a CFO include:

  • A large number of locations, or geographically disparate locations
  • Willingness and ability to cover the salary of a CFO, which often exceeds $250,000 yearly
  • An aggressive expansion plan
  • Opportunities for mergers and acquisitions, or diversification

Let us handle the details. Enlisting the services of a Bellingham bookkeeper or controller lets you focus on your strategy and vision. To learn more about Ann Irons, CPA, LLC and her services, contact our office at 508-966-0700. We proudly serve individuals and businesses in need of tax preparation, accounting, investing, and financial planning assistance.

Topics: Small Business Accounting, Bookkeeping

About Ann M. Irons, CPA LLC

ann_irons_head_shotAnn spent over 25 years in the financial service industry, gaining knowledge and experience that allows her to provide an array of tax, bookkeeping, and accounting services for her clients. Relying on a stringent code of ethics and a dedication to maintaining the highest industry standards, Ann works hard to ensure her clients receive the quality service they’ve come to expect. A member of AICPA and MSCPA, Ann has also had an article featured in the renowned publication, Banker and Tradesman. 

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts