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In-House Bookkeepers vs. Full-Charge Bookkeepers

Posted on 22/02/2024

If you already have in-house bookkeepers, you’re probably wondering if and when you should consider hiring or outsourcing someone to handle your accounting 2.0 chores.

As previously said, business expansion necessitates changing financial requirements. As your finances become more complicated, you may require someone with a function that falls halfway between that of a bookkeeper and that of a controller. Compared to an internal bookkeeper, a full-charge bookkeeper’s responsibilities are far more varied. As a result, hiring a full-charge bookkeeper should be explored.

Controllers vs. Full-Charge Bookkeepers:

What exactly is a controller?

A controller is in charge of a company’s accounting operations. A controller’s responsibilities are broader than those of an accountant or bookkeeper. They are frequently seasoned people with many certifications. In smaller businesses, their position may be more broad, whereas in larger enterprises, it may be more supervisory.

Controllers perform numerous critical functions that set them apart from full-charge bookkeepers. These are some examples:

  • Financial strategy and planning: Controllers can establish and implement financial plans that are in line with the aims of a business. They examine financial data, spot trends, and provide insights to help organizations make decisions.
  • Financial analysis and reporting: Controllers supervise the compilation and analysis of financial reports and statements, assuring accuracy, compliance, and meaningful interpretation of the data. Full-charge bookkeepers prepare financial statements but may not have the same level of skill in advanced financial analysis.
  • Internal controls and risk management: While full-charge bookkeepers are not normally involved in these areas, controllers design and maintain internal control systems to protect a company’s assets, prevent fraud, and assure regulatory compliance. They identify and minimize risks, as well as keep track of the company’s financial activity.
  • Budgeting and forecasting: They may also be involved in budgeting and forecasting procedures, collaborating with management to set financial goals, create budgets, and track performance against targets. They offer insights on variations and suggest corrective actions.
  • Recruiting and training: Controllers frequently supervise the accounting department, including the recruiting and training of full-charge bookkeepers and other accounting personnel. They provide supervision, training, and performance management to ensure the accounting function runs well.

Should you bring in a controller?

The quantity and complexity of your business transactions are what primarily determine them. A controller could assist in overseeing your accounting department as it grows and tasks are split among additional personnel. They are also often skilled at handling complex transactions, which full-charge bookkeepers may not be.

According to Indeed, the average base compensation for a controller is roughly $46.33 per hour. In comparison, the average hourly base compensation of a full-charge bookkeeper is $21.26. This may differ depending on factors such as location, education, and previous experience.

CPAs vs. Full-Charge Bookkeepers

A certified public accountant, or CPA, is a credentialed accounting practitioner. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) aids in the process of obtaining a CPA license and offers resources. A state’s Board of Accountancy grants these licenses. CPAs are obligated to follow an ethical code. Needless to say, CPAs are highly skilled financial specialists.

CPAs can perform all of the functions of a full-charge bookkeeper and more. Let’s look at how a CPA’s role differs from that of a full-charge bookkeeper:

  • Advanced accounting knowledge: CPAs receive extensive accounting education and training before attaining professional certification. They comprehend accounting concepts, financial reporting standards, and complicated accounting difficulties thoroughly.
  • Financial statement audits: CPAs are certified to do financial statement audits, which entail a detailed evaluation of a company’s financial records, processes, and controls. They provide an independent and objective opinion on the financial statements’ fairness and correctness, assuring conformity with accounting rules.
  • Compliance and regulatory knowledge: CPAs stay current on accounting and financial regulations. They make certain that organizations follow essential standards such as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) (which apply to public companies) and tax laws. They are well-versed in sophisticated financial reporting standards and can help you stay in compliance with the law.
  • Tax planning: Taxation can be complicated, especially for new firms. Small firms sometimes face obstacles and potential financial losses as a result of blunders or a lack of understanding of tax legislation, which results in overpayment. Using the services of a CPA removes the need to worry about tax preparation because they know how to help you through the intricate tax filing procedures.
  • IRS audit: If you ever find yourself in a scenario where you must endure an IRS audit, a CPA is the best person to represent you.

Should you hire a CPA?

You may not need to hire a CPA if your company is small. However, their knowledge might be useful when it comes to managing your taxes, accounting, and so on. However, keep in mind that the hourly rate for a CPA might range from $150 to $250, or even $500, depending on their location and level of experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Bookkeeping can be seen as a time-consuming task, but it does not have to be. Hiring a full-charge bookkeeper may be a good option for small or medium-sized enterprises in the development stage.
  • The responsibility of fully-charge bookkeepers is to provide total financial management and to accurately record financial transactions. They perform accounting functions in addition to normal bookkeeping.
  • A full-charge bookkeeper’s salary is contingent upon several factors, such as the size of the company, the accounting requirements, and the available resources. This position will not be suitable for every company.
  • Full-charge bookkeepers manage accounts payable and receivable, perform bank reconciliations, manage cash flow, process payroll, prepare tax returns, provide financial reports, and supervise accounting staff.
  • Controllers have a broader responsibility than full-charge bookkeepers in that they oversee accounting activities, financial strategy and planning, financial analysis and reporting, internal controls and risk management, budgeting and forecasting, and hiring and training.
  • CPAs are certified to conduct financial audits, provide compliance expertise, and represent organizations during IRS audits. However, their services are more expensive than those of full-charge bookkeepers.
  • The decision to hire a full-charge bookkeeper, controller, or CPA is based on your company’s specific needs, size, and complexity of financial operations.
  • Evaluating the costs and benefits of hiring a full-charge bookkeeper, controller, or CPA is critical for making an informed selection that is in line with your company’s needs and financial resources.

You may be wondering how to balance your company’s bookkeeping and accounting requirements with the cost of hiring staff to conduct these functions. You may make an informed choice about whether employing a full-charge bookkeeper is the correct step to support your company’s financial health and growth by examining your company’s circumstances and knowing the value that a full-charge bookkeeper can provide to your organization.

Topics: Bookkeeping Services




About the Author:

Pramod has over 11 years of experience relating to finance and accounts in diversified industries. He is an expert in resource and process optimization resulting in greater operational efficiencies.

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