Small and medium-sized business owners have a lot on their plates. Depending on the size and structure of their organisation, their responsibilities can include hiring and managing staff, developing client relationships, monitoring the company’s growth strategy, and ensuring the business remains profitable — to say nothing of managing the day-to-day operations.
One of the biggest challenges for many business owners is finding the right level of finance and accounting support. Many fall into the trap of thinking all types of finance professionals are the same.
They may hire a bookkeeper and expect them to set up complex accounting policies or create forecasting models, for example; or hire someone overqualified, such as a chief financial officer (CFO), to perform data entry and compliance tasks.
To properly execute a financial strategy and drive the success of a company, what business owners need is a financial controller.
What is a financial controller?
A financial controller, or FC, is a must-have for any business that requires financial management. While a finance director is responsible for overall strategy, the FC takes the lead on the crucial activities of financial reporting, compliance, and complex accounting processes related to accruals, prepayments, and receivables.
For business owners the 3 main benefits of engaging a financial controller are:
- A financial controller clarifies your financial reporting and keeps your business on track
Where financial structures and procedures are more complex, a financial controller can provide insight and clarity on business operations and performance. Monthly reconciliations are not enough to provide an accurate picture of your business and the risk for financial misstatements can be high.
A business that is generating millions in revenue could, in fact, be losing money in one or more areas. By the time a business owner realises the problem, it may already be too late to change course, and the effects can be long-lasting.
A qualified FC can implement appropriate matching principles and revenue recognition, analyse and report on established KPIs, and ensure that monthly and yearly financials align. They provide business owners with timely, high-value information to help the company thrive.
- A financial controller reduces your risk of fraud
Fraud has a serious impact on businesses, big and small, across the globe. While business owners are ultimately responsible for due diligence and management, a financial controller mitigates risk through the segregation of duties. Reporting and audit review functions are managed by the financial controller, separately from those who have authorisation or spending powers.
- A financial controller can ensure regulatory compliance
Tax and financial regulations can be complicated and overwhelming, and many business owners lack the technical knowledge required to ensure they are compliant. A central component of a financial controller’s role is to maintain compliance with government regulations, as well as meet requirements set by financial institutions.
This includes, but is not limited to, meeting banking reporting requirements, and preparing tax filings. While businesses may think they can manage without this type of support, the reality is that non-compliance penalties can be devastating to your bottom line.
How can business owners find the right support?
Finding a qualified financial controller can be particularly challenging for SMEs. The role requires a high degree of technical knowledge and experience. Many companies attempt to go without a financial controller, or they assign responsibilities to a staff member who lacks the necessary background, which in turn increases the risk of data inaccuracy and other errors.
That’s where EFM’s financial management services come into the mix.
How EFM can support your FC requirements
EFM’s experienced and qualified team of part-time, portfolio financial controllers can provide the right level of accounting support for your company’s needs. Through EFM’s integrated and tailored approach, we work to fully understand your business and help your company grow.
For more information around how EFM can support your business and to set-up your free 1 hour consultation, contact the central team via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01582 516300.