Hiring a full-time controller is expensive. By hiring an outsourced controller, you save your company time and money. When you’re looking for an outsourced controller, however, the hiring process is a little different. What do you need to look for in an outsourced controller? Here are a few tips for finding the best fit for your company.
Define the Role
In smaller businesses, the controller often takes on the responsibilities of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as well as those of a controller. In other businesses, the controller manages and oversees the accounting staff. When looking for a controller for your company, determine which role that controller will fill. For example, smaller businesses should seek an outsourced controller candidate that has more extensive leadership experience. That way, they will be able to fill a greater leadership role in your accounting and finance departments and on your executive team.
Larger businesses, in contrast, should seek a controller candidate with large business experience. This allows for seamless integration with the way your business already runs.
Determine the Workload
The amount of work you need your controller to complete will also determine which controller you should hire. Their schedule and availability should match your needs for the project or term for which you need them. If you’re hiring on a project-basis, the number of hours it will take them to finish your project should fit with your budget. A good controller-level consultant is able to estimate the amount of time the work will take and anticipate the need for extra time. They will also give regular updates on whether they will meet those estimates.
Procedures and Policies
Any outsourced controller you hire should have experience with the processes and policies that you use to run your business. If you reconcile and close your books at the end of every day, your controller needs to be well-versed in those processes. This way, your accounting and finance staff has a valuable asset and resource in the controller you hired. Seamless integration is important when it comes to hiring an outsourced consultant to work with your team. Ensuring that the controller you hire is able to integrate with your existing processes and staff means that you save time and money.
Each controller candidate you consider will have a working knowledge of accounting practices and principles. However, they should also have experience and expertise in accounting practices and principles specific to your industry.
Many industries have different processes and expectations unique to the industry itself. Your controller should already have a working knowledge of what businesses in your industry are all about. This way, your controller can contribute to your company’s success in your market.
While most accounting professionals have a working knowledge of all major accounting software, it’s important that the controller you hire has experience working with the software your company uses. This allows for seamless integration with your existing staff and processes.
Hiring an outsourced controller that already has experience with your accounting software also means that they can get the available work done quickly and accurately. Their experience will save you time and money, making an expert a valuable investment. Your outsourced controller may also be able to give insight on the best ways to use the software you already have for your business model and practices for maximum usage and efficiency.
Though they’re not becoming a permanent part of your company, your fractional controller will be spending a lot of time with your executive team and accounting staff. It’s important that they fit in with your company culture. When interviewing outsourced controller candidates, it may be beneficial to let them interact with your team as part of the screening process. If you use a placement service to find a candidate, your placement agent will often spend some time with your employees. Also, they will get an idea of what your company culture is like.
When hiring an outsourced controller, strive to find the best candidate for your business. It can be tempting to hire just anyone. After all, they will only be at your company for the duration of the project. However, this person will be an integral part of your business for the duration of their stay. Make sure they are the best fit for the role. Their experience puts them in the best position possible to make your business the best it can be.