Here's a look at the key responsibilities of a bookkeeper and a controller — and how they work together.
Any successful business needs to have a person, or people, handling bookkeeping and controller tasks. While there is some overlap between the two roles, there are also critical differences. Let's take a closer look at these distinctions and at how the person or team taking on these roles can help you maximize profitability while minimizing risk.
Agreeing on Terms
Maybe the easiest way to grasp the difference between a bookkeeper and a controller is to think of each in a literal sense. A bookkeeper, as the title plainly states, keeps the books — i.e., records all of a company's financial transactions in a systematic way. Without a competent bookkeeper to log this data, a business owner would quickly lose track of how much money was flowing into the company and how much was flowing out. The result would be chaos.
A controller takes the process to the next level by analyzing and interpreting this data to institute financial controls (hence the name). Controllers also help the business owner implement efficiencies, develop budgets and provide insights that could lead to additional opportunities.