The differences between CFOs and Controllers

CEOs seeking the best recruitment firm ask what are the differences are between CFOs and Controllers. Generally we have found:
CFOs are responsible for the firm’s finances and serve as functional executive team members. They are responsible for the day-to-day financial operations of the firm in support of the CEO. CFOs bring tremendous value to a firm including:
  • Developing financial strategy
  • Anticipating changes that may impact the firm’s finances
  • Delivering financial models and scenario planning
  • Leading loan structuring and capital acquisition
  • Overseeing of financial or accounting reporting
  • Advising tax planning with an exceptional grasp of state and federal tax laws
  • Accountability for the performance, and oversight of the firm’s controller, accounting, and payroll teams
  • Executing successful investor/shareholder acquisition, reporting, and relations
  • Advising on mergers and acquisitions


Another valuable team member is your firm’s Controller. They report to the CFO (or CEO, if a CFO is not present). As a result of operations, they manage the completion of tasks such as:

  • Accounting
  • Payroll
  • Billing
  • Accounts payable and receivable
  • Reporting
  • Profit & loss statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Tax filings
Think of it like this: CFOs, in partnership with your executive team, will be strategic and forward-looking. They will anticipate business opportunities and bring strategies to the table. They will also advise various alternatives or sometimes make enterprise decisions.
Controllers produce or oversee work products that are utilized by the CFO or CEO. Their deliverables are pieces in the overall strategy and leadership CFOs provide. 
We recently attended the CFMA 2022 Regional Conference and heard from attendees that these positions can be overwhelming to fill. We don’t consider ourselves a headhunter agency, we are a top executive search firm and can shorten and simplify your hiring process. 
We fully support talent acquisition by providing needs assessment, job descriptions, and pre-screened, qualified candidates ready for an interview within the same week of contacting us.
Give our team a call, learn more about the differences between CFOs and Controllers, and put an end to lengthy job placement timelines. Call the best executive search firm in the SF Bay Area and hire your next CFO or Controller!


Ryan has worked in staffing for the last eight years. Two years ago, he took the leap to develop a firm whose mission was to elevate staffing to a professional service that treats our candidates as well as we treat our clients. He is very proud of his team and constantly seeks to celebrate their victories together while quietly learning from their losses. 

Related Articles

Join our Newsletter

Get the latest news and trends!


Green Logo for Black bg

Executive Search & Selection. Let us help you find your Next One!



Add Your Heading Text Here

Hot Tip for Job Applicants — How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.