Controller

What is a 'Controller'

A controller is an individual who has responsibility for all accounting-related activities within a firm. In most organizations, the controller is the top managerial and financial accountant. The controller supervises the accounting department and assists management in interpreting and utilizing managerial accounting information. A firm's chief financial officer (CFO) may distribute some of the financial management responsibilities between a controller and a treasurer. Functions of the controller include:

Financial accounting - the preparation of financial statements

Cost accounting - the preparation of the firm's operating budgets

Taxes - the preparation of reports that the firm must file with various local, state and federal agencies

Data processing - of corporate accounting and payroll activities

Also called "comptroller."
 

BREAKING DOWN 'Controller'

A controller can work at a corporation or government setting. For example, municipal, as well as state, governments often have a controller and "controller's office" or "office of the controller." A state controller may be responsible for administering the state's accounting system, processing and recording its financial transactions, collecting debts that are owed to the state and settling claims made against the state. Controllers for government entities are typically elected; controllers who work within corporate settings are hired.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Detective Control

    A type of internal control mechanism intended to find problems ...
  2. Managerial Accounting

    The process of identifying, measuring, analyzing, interpreting, ...
  3. Administrative Accounting

    The financial reporting of factors that influence decision making, ...
  4. Control

    1. The use of power to influence an outcome. For example, working ...
  5. Direct Investment

    1. The purchase or acquisition of a controlling interest in a ...
  6. Accounting Control

    Methods and procedures that are implemented by a firm to help ...
Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Controller: Career Path & Qualifications

    Find out what it takes to become a financial controller, starting with undergraduate educational requirements and moving into professional certification.
  2. Professionals

    Career Advice: Accountant Vs. Controller

    Learn about the differences between controllers and accountants, how the two are related and which is the best career choice for aspiring bookkeepers.
  3. Professionals

    Controller: Job Description & Average Salary

    Learn about becoming a controller and what the job entails. Understand the education and skills required, and how much money you can expect to make.
  4. Investing Basics

    How Do Internal Controls Work?

    Essentially, internal controls limit fraud and other illegal activities.
  5. Professionals

    Common Interview Questions for Controllers

    Learn more about the job description of a financial controller and questions that may be asked of applicants applying for this position.
  6. Executive Compensation

    Accountant: Job Description & Average Salary

    Discover what the job description of an accountant entails, along with education and training, salary and skills necessary for success.
  7. Investing Basics

    Accounting

    These college classes will help you prepare for the working world - and stand out from your peers.
  8. Economics

    Explaining Cost Control

    For a business, cost control entails managing and reducing expenses.
  9. Savings

    5 Ways To Control Emotional Spending

    Follow these five simple steps to keep your spending under control.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    Keeping Control of Your Business After the IPO

    Taking a company public doesn't mean founders must completely give up calling the shots. Before the IPO, consider these tactics to keep control after it.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the difference between managerial accounting and financial accounting?

    Discover the differences between managerial accounting and financial accounting. Both work in tandem to make the business ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are common concepts and techniques of managerial accounting?

    Understand the difference between managerial accounting and financial accounting. Learn about the common concepts and techniques ... Read Answer >>
  3. How does financial accounting differ from managerial accounting?

    Learn about the main differences between financial accounting and managerial accounting, including why one is highly uniform ... Read Answer >>
  4. What are common scenarios in which managerial accounting is appropriate?

    Understand the difference between managerial accounting and financial accounting. Learn common scenarios in which managerial ... Read Answer >>
  5. What are the main objectives of cost accounting?

    Learn about the main benefits of cost accounting systems, why they are different from financial accounting and why they are ... Read Answer >>
  6. What are the objectives of financial accounting?

    Learn about the principle objectives of financial accounting, including the furnishing of the financial statements for those ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Stop-Limit Order

    An order placed with a broker that combines the features of stop order with those of a limit order. A stop-limit order will ...
  2. Keynesian Economics

    An economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects on output and inflation. Keynesian economics was developed ...
  3. Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications ...

    A member-owned cooperative that provides safe and secure financial transactions for its members. Established in 1973, the ...
  4. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles - GAAP

    The common set of accounting principles, standards and procedures that companies use to compile their financial statements. ...
  5. DuPont Analysis

    A method of performance measurement that was started by the DuPont Corporation in the 1920s. With this method, assets are ...
  6. Call Option

    An agreement that gives an investor the right (but not the obligation) to buy a stock, bond, commodity, or other instrument ...
Trading Center