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Accountant vs. Controller: What’s the Difference?

An accountant records and analyses the financial data of the company along with performing other accounting-related activities. A controller is also in charge of all the accounting activities, including personnel management.

Accountants and controllers fill out financial records, double-check them for accuracy, and make sure the reports are compliant with rules. They detect and rectify problems as needed.

Controllers have more power and responsibility, which is one of the significant differences between them. Their responsibilities include overseeing accountants and evaluating their reports. Controllers also prepare documents for the government.

Who are accountants?

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Accountants are responsible for analysing the company’s financial record and presenting an accurate and reliable picture of the company’s financial position so that the business owners, along with the management, can make informed strategic decisions for business growth.

Some accountants, such as government accountants, may be required to conduct audits as part of their job. Hiring an accounting firm or an accountant in London for conducting internal audits for the smooth functioning of a business is also a common practice followed by many companies.

Accountants may devote some of their time to drafting tax paperwork for businesses or individuals. They may also be engaged in the creation of other financial papers for businesses.

Some accountants work in finance or government, while others work for firms that offer accounting services. Because some accountants can work from home and travel to visit customers as required, while others work in an office, the work environment of an accountant may vary depending on their company.

Some of the job responsibilities of an accountant include:
• Examining financial records of a company
• Filling out financial paperwork for an individual or a business
• Verifying the accuracy of records
• Identifying opportunities to increase profitability
• Performing internal as well as external audits

Who are controllers?

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Financial managers who supervise the work of employees in a company’s finance department are known as controllers. A business controller serves as the company’s main accounting officer. The controller is regarded as a part of the executive team and is responsible for coordinating and supervising the company’s accounting staff.

The interpretation of financial data is a typical yet underestimated job of the business controller. Controllers usually have a lot of expertise with accounting and business forecasts, especially when it comes to tax management.

Business controllers or corporate controllers are the most common kind of controllers. They are in charge of their employers’ complete accounting systems. In smaller businesses, this means setting up the accounting infrastructure and maintaining the books, but in the firms operating on a large scale, controllers are overseers.

Controllers must be aware of all the relevant rules and laws that must be followed. They must pay close attention to detail because they spend a lot of time analysing reports of a company to guarantee that they are accurate. Accounting firms often employ controllers, but organisations running on a large scale may recruit them in-house.

A controller’s responsibilities include:
• Producing financial reports for a company
• Determining financial projections for a company
• Monitoring the work of the staff present in the finance department
• Creating policies and procedural guidelines for the team to follow
• Evaluating the work of accountants

What is the difference in the salaries of an accountant and a controller?

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Accounting, despite its dull image, is routinely rated as one of the most rewarding professions. Intermediate accountants earn an average of £39,000 per year. This average is based on a range of wages from extremely high to very low, and some accountants earn substantially more.

The fees charged by an accountant can depend on various factors like the type of services required, the size of the client’s business, the client’s location, and more.

On the other hand, a controller makes around £56,000 on average as a senior accountant. It’s crucial to remember that the controller is ultimately responsible for the department’s accuracy and reliability.

Being the controller may be the appropriate option for someone who can easily take on a leadership position.

The difference in the work-life of an accountant and a controller:-

Most of the accountants work up to 40- to 45-hour weeks usually. But their workload increases extensively during the tax time. Accountants are known for working long and intensive hours throughout tax season. During tax season, it’s not uncommon to work more than 10 hours a day, six days a week.

On the other hand, a typical controller works 170 hours per month or less than 43 hours per week. Like their accounting counterparts, controllers have a far better work/life balance than others in the financial business.

Career as an accountant or a controller

Each of these jobs comes under the accounting discipline. But the prerequisites to become and the duties of each professional are vastly different. When it comes to working in the accounting field, it’s critical to examine all of your possibilities before making a decision.

Do you like to lead the accounting department and manage the budgets, or are you more interested in the numbers?

You should consider the differences in both the fields, the differences in pay, and which career path would provide you with the best prospects so that you may make the wisest decision.

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