Outsourced Controller Services for Startups | Graphite Financial

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Controller Services

Josh Leider

Josh Leider - Head of Growth

March 29, 2024

A controller is another term for lead accountant. The main role of a controller is to oversee all of the accounting processes and activities and ensure accuracy with money that’s moved both in and out of a company. Controllers also play a role in decision-making and financial forecasting and can guide budgeting.

While you might think that company is best served by employing a in house controller, there’s a growing trend to outsource this service to a trusted partner. In this post, we’ll discuss the value that outsourced controller services offer, the key benefits of outsourcing this service, how to choose the right partner and more. Read on to learn more:


What Are Outsourced Controller Services?


As the name implies, outsourced controller services are when a company works with an external partner for these accounting tasks. When you outsource controller services with a trusted partner, you can rest assured that the same tasks and internal controls that a professional would be performing in-house are now being carried out by an external provider. An external partner will continue to supervise and perform accounting and bookkeeping processes, coordinate payroll, take care of financial reporting, manage compliance and more.

Though many companies prefer to have key financial professionals working in-house and as a part of their business, there are several key advantages to outsourcing such accounting services. We’ll get to more of the key benefits in forthcoming sections, but here’s an overview:

  • It’s a cost-effective solution, especially for more cash-strapped small and startup businesses.
  • You’ll gain access to specialized skills and expertise that can improve your current financial strategy.
  • A financial partner can grow and scale with your business as it prospers.


How do Outsourced Controller Services Work?

Just think of a good outsourced financial controller as an extension of your business. And with that being said, it’s important to find the right fit and the right partner that can meet your firm’s needs both now and into the future. You’ll work with an outsourced controller firm the same way you would if one worked for your firm in-house. For example:

  • You’ll need to introduce them to your company and onboard them.
  • You’ll regularly communicate with the controller, just as you would an in-house professional.
  • You’ll regularly get the same reporting and financial analysis that you would if the professional worked for your firm.
  • There’s a similar level of coordination and collaboration.

As you can see, working with an outsourced controller isn’t a lot different from working with one in-house. There’s still a level of collaboration and coordination that needs to be done regularly. The biggest difference is that you can trust an external provider’s expertise and specialization, while reducing overhead costs. Think of it like this: You, as a company, have more control over what the professional is tasked with and how they engage with your firm.

Benefits of Outsourced Controller Services

We hinted at some of the key benefits earlier in this piece, and they’re worth expanding on further in this section. They include:

  • Cost savings: When you outsource controller services, you can typically save money on overhead. It’s almost always more cost-effective to outsource operations to a trusted partner than it is to have someone do the same task in-house. This is especially true for small or startup businesses that may not need a full-time controller.
  • Flexibility: An outsourced financial controller service can adapt and change as your business grows and evolves. For instance, the level of service your firm needs as a startup isn’t likely to be the same level it will need as it grows and expands.
  • Expertise: Rather than trying to move a current employee into the controller role, you can rest assured that when you outsource you’re getting the high-level service and financial expertise that your firm needs. This can free up your current employees to work more on growing the business and not force them into any roles that they’re unqualified or unable to do well.
  • Continuity: Outsourcing controller services ensures a consistent level of service and reliability that internal staff changes can disrupt. When companies experience key accounting staff turnovers it can lead to periods of adjustment and instability. By outsourcing, you’re not just hiring an individual but a firm that can maintain continuity in financial management and oversight, regardless of changes in your own staffing.


When to Consider Outsourcing Controller Services

So when could your business benefit from outsourcing controller services? Here’s a look at some situations:

  • Rapid growth: Growing at a fast pace? If so, your current financial operations and accounting systems may not do the trick any longer – and it could behoove your business to hire an outsourced controller to handle things.
  • Financial complexity: At the micro level, many people will hire a CPA to do their taxes because their income is complex and they don’t trust themselves to get it right. On a macro level, this is why many firms also hire a controller – to ensure that any complex finances are handled correctly.
  • You want to conserve costs: We already talked about how it’s often more cost-effective to work with an outsourced partner than it is to bring a professional in-house to handle accounting duties. Reducing overhead or reorganizing your company could present an opportunity to look outside of it.

Besides your accounting process, there are also various other factors that you’ll want to consider when deciding to outsource controller services. Cost, your business goals, range of abilities and cultural fit are all key considerations.

How to Choose the Right Firm for Your Outsourced Controller Service Needs

So how can you select the right controller? We suggest going about the process the same way you would select any partner. Look for depth of experience and expertise. Assess how much knowledge they have about the specific industry or market that you’re doing business in. See if they have service packages or if they can customize their services to what your company needs.

In addition to this, there are also the intangibles that you’ll want to weigh. Things like cultural fit, communication preferences and alignment with your firm’s core business values are also important to consider.

Final Thoughts

From cost savings to financial expertise, there are several benefits to working with an outsourced controller. If you’re contemplating outsourcing, it’s important to assess your needs and determine if those needs are best met by an in-house professional or an outside partner who can become an extension of your business. If an external partner is the best path, make sure you’re choosing one that aligns with your business and its goals.

Graphite Financial for Expert Controller Services

As you can see, there are a lot of situations where it can make sense to outsource controller services – and there are plenty of benefits to doing so. If you’re looking for an experienced, expert controller, look no further than Graphite Financial. With tailored solutions designed to fit any type of business and a commitment to the success and prosperity of our clients, Graphite can meet any of your service needs.

Contact Graphite Financial today for more information and to set up an initial consultation. We’re standing by and ready to become a trusted partner and long-term extension of your business.