Accounting services provide way more than standard accounting. Businesses like yours can outsource just about any financial role: accountants, bookkeepers, CFOs—stop us if this sounds too much like Bubba Gump shrimp.
But you know you can’t underestimate the value of a controller. The question is how to find the right one. Read on for ideas on what to consider when you hire an outsourced financial controller.
What is the function of a financial controller?
Other professions have managers—accounting has controllers or lead accountants. Financial controllers manage bookkeepers and accountants in an effort to stay on top of day-to-day financial operations.
Controllers are more than just senior-level accountants, even though they often spend time on traditional accounting tasks. Instead, their bread and butter is in creating and adhering to strategy.
They handle reporting and deadline management.
Controllers operate as one spoke of accounting services to keep you headed in the right direction. They ensure that accounting tasks are done the right way, keeping up with timelines, adhering to budgets and margins, and verifying that key reports are generated. Some of these reports include income statements, profit-loss statements, and balance sheets.
They’re in charge of financial planning, analysis, and process design.
But how do you carve the right path to begin with? As accounting leads, controllers build operational processes for accounting, bookkeeping, and reporting. This could include something as seemingly simple as implementing internal expense policies.
They maintain accountability and compliance.
No financial system will ever be perfect—regardless of expertise. But that’s why controllers bring their eagle eye to analyze how and why particular financial errors occur. They also go a step beyond to safeguard the business by performing compliance audits, and keeping your business in line with local laws, tax regulations, industry regulations, and financial regulations.
3 Questions to Help You Choose a Financial Controller
You’ve already decided to outsource, but trusting someone outside your business with your accounting system is nerve-wracking. Will they do right by the company? Will they listen to your priorities?
Take a beat and start with the basics to begin honing in on what you need and who might be able to help. A few questions will get you started:
1. What can you share about your track record?
Asking a financial controller—or even accounting services in general—about their successes gives you a glimpse into what to expect from the relationship. Their track record helps you learn about the systems they’ve put in place, their approach to organizational change, and whether or not that meshes with your needs.
Controllers strive to minimize risk, helping improve your performance. That means they should be able to help you avoid and mitigate errors or fraud. Ignite Spot goes so far as to implement preventative and detective controls such as password management, audit trails, and separation of duties to help you keep your cool.
2. What’s your reporting process?
A million and one spreadsheets? Five different software platforms? Find out how your prospective controller handles reporting. It’s best practice to use one reporting system for operating and financial reporting information. If your accounting services don’t do this, they could waste time reconciling information across multiple systems.
Ignite Spot is QuickBooks Elite certified to guarantee your reporting. Our controllers work to ensure that reports are completed on time and sign off on each to verify their accuracy.
3. Who will primarily manage my accounting system?
The best case is always for your assigned financial controller to be the sole administrator of your accounting system with full access to all essential functions. But remember that outsourced accounting services are just that: services. Your partner may collaborate with their larger team, and they’ll need access to jump in and help, so don’t close the digital door completely.
Every Ignite Spot client has an assigned controller, but life happens, and we all chip in to support you. If your controller is sick or otherwise unavailable, we work to ensure you don’t have to worry about service gaps.
Connect with Your New Controller Partner
Finding the right accounting services and controller partner takes a little bit of work—and you need to ask a few key questions to pursue the best-fit options. But once you do, your business has the potential to become better organized and financially sound.
Our controllers are ready to help! Ignite Spot is a team of financial professionals available remotely across the U.S. with diverse backgrounds to fulfill your industry needs. We follow best practices to support your financial system, including:
- Day-to-day financial operations
- Budgetary oversight
- Accounting Compliance
- And more!
Explore our controller services and get in touch to learn how we could help you!