While many entrepreneurial and small companies have staff to handle routine bookkeeping functions, those firms often choose not to hire senior-level accounting talent, since the need may not be justified on a permanent basis. But as these businesses grow – and their accounting needs become more complex – the executive team is often under more pressure to find an experienced resource who can verify the accuracy of accounting documents and systems, while also providing solid guidance on major financial decisions.
What’s a viable solution for this dilemma? In many cases, companies can retain an interim controller who can help ensure accuracy in general ledger accounts, prepare and oversee budgets, and monitor internal controls over financial reporting. In addition, an outsourced controller can provide other important services to senior management, including:
- Analyzing or developing accounting processes
- Customizing financial reports for management
- Pre-audit review and account cleanup
- Pre-tax preparation and cleanup
- Reconciling intercompany accounts
- Performing agreed-upon procedures
Adding value to support a company’s growth, business opportunities
One of the significant advantages of retaining an interim controller (or an on-demand “chief accountant”) is flexibility. For example, when a company is in an entrepreneurial or small-but-fast-growing stage, a contract-based controller can immediately add value by building a chart of accounts, advising on accounting software systems, recommending a basic series of internal controls and ensuring that the company complies with internal and external reporting deadlines.
As a company evolves into a larger, more mature organization, an outsourced controller can focus on tasks better suited to that business stage, such as creating budgets, developing financial dashboard metrics, ensuring appropriate segregation of duties , preparing financial statements, reconciling bank statements, and serving as a liaison with a CPA firm on audit, compilation or tax return matters. The controller will also ensure that financial data is being recorded in alignment with appropriate industry standards, such as Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures (GAAP).
A controller can be an invaluable resource in a variety of other situations. For instance, if a company is preparing to sell a major asset, the controller is primarily responsible for determining current basis of that asset – a critical analysis that determines if the sale will be recorded as a gain or loss. On a larger scale, if a company is preparing itself for sale, the controller will conduct a range of due diligence activities, such as affirming that the company’s underlying assets support the balance sheet, verifying that all appropriate business tax returns have been filed, and validating that the company is properly registered to do business in all states or jurisdictions in which it operates.
By engaging a skilled professional to handle an interim controllership role, business leaders can ensure that their companies have accurate financial records, solid accounting oversight, and an experienced hand to prepare the company for audits or major transactions.
Please contact us for more information on controllership services, or other business accounting issues.
June 29, 2017