Category Archives: Professionals

Controller, Bookkeeper or CFO?

Do You Hire a Controller or a CFO?

Many people use Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) and Controller interchangeably because they think it is the same position. In some companies, a Controller could be the top financial leader. But that does not mean they are a CFO or CFO-level. Before we answer the question of do you hire a Controller or a CFO, we need to understand when companies need to hire a financial leader.

Do You Hire a Controller or a CFOWhen Companies Need to Hire a Financial Leader

Every company needs a financial leader – depending on the stage or life/size of your company this financial leader may be a bookkeeper, accounting manager, Controller or CFO. For example, some companiesover $25 million in revenue may want to consider having both a Controller and a CFO. In this blog, we will focus on the difference between a Controller and a Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

The Strategic CFO


Our Minimum Viable Product

Not long ago my mother died at the age of 97. My father left us a couple of years earlier at the age of 100.

Apparently I’m getting old.

I realized that I didn’t have any kind of succession plan. I had long since realized that most CPAs wouldn’t be interested in buying my practice because they weren’t familiar with my particular tax specialty. It is also very difficult to develop skilled professional staff in a small CPA firm.

Recent university graduates are expensive to hire and have a lot to learn. They take at least 2 to 3 years of development before they can be expected to pull their own weight. Almost 3 years ago I hired a CPA from the Philippines.

In the course of the last 3 years we experimented with tools to facilitate collaboration remotely. We worked with a variety of file-sharing options, developed our own working paper system to replace Caseware™, and tried a number of web conferencing apps before settling on APPEAR.IN.

It finally dawned on me that it was my understanding of outsourcing and the systems for collaboration that we had developed together that represented the biggest value of my particular practice. Traditionally CPAs transition into retirement by finding someone to take over their clients.

So in the last few months I started to work try to define what my “Minimum Viable Product” is…

I hired a number of staff from the Philippines to help me and set about defining as a way of connecting small business clients, CPA staff from the Philippines and local CPAs who needed better, more effective tools for staffing their practices.

The courses we developed for in-house training represent good value for CPAs in practice that need CPD credits at a reasonable cost. It should also help in providing some of the key skills and tools that they will need to effectively outsource to highly-skilled and reasonably-priced Filipino staff.