What Does a Corporate Controller Do?

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  • Written By: Kenneth W. Michael Wills
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2019
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Responsibility for all financial and accounting functions in a corporation usually resides with the corporate controller. He or she will supervise those functions, which include budgeting, billing, accounts payable and receivable, forecasting and projecting, reporting, treasury administration, and tax estimation and filing. In addition, the corporate controller will also work as part of a team to devise, document and implement accounting and financial policies. He or she will also troubleshoot accounting or finance issues and create procedures to solve those issues in an effort to streamline accurate reporting procedures. Overall responsibility required of the position includes mitigating financial risks, enhancing accuracy of accounting and financial processes, and ensuring compliance with generally or internationally accepted accounting principles.

Management responsibilities are part of the corporate controller’s job scope. Aside from supervising accounting and financial staff and processes, he or she will also maintain documented systems for financial and accounting procedures. Additionally, the controller will manage all outsourced contracts related to accounting and financial functions. Since the accounting department is his or her responsibility, the controller will also ensure that the department is structured in a manner that efficiently achieves the its goals and objectives. If the corporation has other subsidiaries, he or she may also oversee those accounting operations as well.


Transaction maintenance and financial reporting are central functions of the corporate controller. Included in these responsibilities are the assurance of accounts payable in a timely manner, collecting on accounts receivable, processing and accuracy of payroll, banking reconciliation, and collecting debt payments in a timely fashion. Maintenance of the chart of accounts, accounting filing systems, and systems associated with controlling and carrying out financial transactions fall under the purview of the position. Proper and timely reporting of all financial reports, statements, budgets and forecasts are also part of the job function. Financial analysis is a consistent job function required as well in order to spot discrepancies and ensure financial health.

Depending on the size of the company and whether it is publicly traded, the corporate controller may also hold the responsibility for filing quarterly and annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). With smaller companies and those not publicly traded, he or she may also assume the job functions of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Compliance is a vital function of the position as well. While taxes is part of the compliance function, the corporate controller will also hold the responsibility for complying with all outside audits and monitor debt levels of the company to make sure they comply with company policy.


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