Leaving critical accounting department functions in the hands of unqualified, in-house personnel as you grow can lead to tax oversights, compliance issues, and poor financial planning.
A fractional controller’s role extends well beyond bookkeeping work. But many small and mid-sized businesses don’t have the budget to hire a controller on a full-time basis.
Fortunately, you can get the skills and experience you need – when you need them – by hiring a fractional controller (also known as a part-time controller) on a part-time basis.
What does a fractional controller do?
As your business grows in size or complexity, a fractional controller (also known as a part time controller) can help you manage and leverage your financial information. Fractional controllers are responsible for:
- Making sure you’re up to date with the CRA
- Working with your year-end accountants to ensure your annual taxes and financial statements are completed accurately and on time
- Preparing for audit reviews
- Monitoring compliance with bank agreements
- Assisting with budgeting, forecasting, and stakeholder reporting
- Helping your business grow by evaluating the profitability of various service lines
- Helping you assess new opportunities
- Helping you with cash flow planning
Part-time or fractional controller accounting services let you adjust the mix of your finance or management team as your business needs change - at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time controller.
A fractional controller can meet your financial needs on a project or contract basis, as a stand-alone service, or as part of an outsourced account management package.
Fractional Controller vs. Bookkeeper vs. Fractional CFO
Fractional Controller vs. Bookkeeper
Bookkeepers are essential to every business. But while they concentrate on processing financial transactions and keeping accounting system entries and reconciliations up-to-date, controllers focus on integrating business and finance functions.
Fractional controllers help entrepreneurs and organizational leaders drive their businesses forward, while taking the financial implications of business decisions into account.
Fractional Controller vs. Fractional CFO
CFOs (chief financial officers) play an important role in accounting, but tend to be more focused on strategy and less operationally involved than controllers.
You may need a fractional CFO once in a while for the depth of experience they bring to tactical projects. But given the considerable overlap between the two roles, if your business has a strong fractional controller, you often won’t need a fractional CFO.
Is your business ready for outsourced controller services?
If your business earns between $500K and $10M in annual revenue, you could benefit from the financial intelligence a fractional controller provides.
At $500K to $1M in revenue, a controller can assist with everything from complex bookkeeping transactions to preparing and interpreting financial reports. By the $10M mark, controller services become even more essential for establishing and maintaining closing processes and overseeing internal controls.
Because a fractional controller can help you evaluate growth opportunities, even the smallest company can benefit – especially if you lack a financial background.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re thinking about starting a new product line. A controller can help you assess:
- What it will take financially for your business to make that investment
- When you can expect to see a return, and
- Whether you have enough cash available to get your new line off the ground
A controller can also help you get the financing you need. Having your numbers put together by an accounting professional instils confidence in lenders or investors that you’ve got your financial ducks in a row.
The benefits of working with a fractional controller
There are many advantages to working with a part time or fractional controller. To start, they’ll keep you onside with the CRA by ensuring your remittances are up-to-date and communicating on your behalf in the event of an inquiry.
Controller services can also help you:
- Make year-end a breeze. A fractional controller will support your accountants by answering their questions and doing the heavy lifting.
- Make better business decisions. The more accurate financials you have - and the better you understand them - the easier it becomes to make smart operational and investment decisions.
- Make good on your debt covenants. A fractional controller can anticipate and communicate in advance when things aren’t going to go according to plan. That means a lot to investors and lenders, who will often be willing to make exceptions.
One of the lesser known benefits of working with a fractional controller is their capacity to attend virtual board meetings. While you concentrate on communicating your vision and plan, they handle the accounting and financial pieces.
Controller services are also integral to effective cash flow planning.
Many small businesses fail because they run out of money. In fact, one recent study cited “running out of cash” as the second most common reason for startup failure after “no market need”. By building out your financial plan, a fractional controller helps you understand the realities of your financial data in good times and bad.
Contact us today to find out how you can take advantage of Enkel’s flexible fractional controller services to help navigate your growth challenges.