Accounting Manager Vs Controller: What’s The Difference?

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Accounting Manager Vs Controller: What's The Difference?

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Accounting isn’t flashy, but it offers stability, decent pay, and room to grow. Experienced accountants, like financial managers or senior-level staff, often advance to key roles like Accounting Manager or Controller. These professionals oversee financial activities within a company, typically after years of experience and certifications. Unlike entry-level positions, these roles require expertise in financial management and accounting practices.

In this article, we will look at who is the accounting manager and who is the controller, and key differences in different terms. Let us get started:

What is An Accountant Manager?

An Accounting Manager leads a team of accountants and bookkeepers who manage daily financial tasks. They ensure records are accurate and prepare reports for company leaders. In big companies, they might focus on areas like auditing or tax accounting.

Their work happens mostly in offices, with some travel for meetings or events. They analyze financial data and advise on planning and strategy. Their role is crucial for keeping finances in order and guiding business decisions.

What is An Accountant Manager?

Controllers are like financial guardians for their company. They create reports, manage investments, and handle risks. They set up and uphold accounting rules and methods. Controllers team up with top managers to meet financial targets. In big companies, they might lead a group of accountants and analysts.

Their job is vital for keeping the organization’s finances healthy and on track. They’re the go-to people for financial strategies and decisions, ensuring the company stays strong financially.

Key Differences between Controller and Accounting Manager

Here are the key differences between a controller and accounting Manager:

1. Job Duties

Accounting managers handle a wide range of tasks overseeing the entire accounting department. They guide projects, assess staff performance, and aid in hiring decisions. They also manage salaries and bonuses based on performance.

Controllers have specific duties focusing on financial reporting and compliance. They ensure each department follows accounting rules, maintains accurate records, and oversees budgeting to keep spending in check. They’re like financial watchdogs, ensuring all financial activities meet regulations and contribute to the organization’s success.

While financial managers handle the big picture of accounting operations, controllers dive deep into financial details to keep everything running smoothly and legally.

2. Requirements for Job

To become an accounting manager or controller, you’ll typically need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. While having a master’s degree can be beneficial for higher positions, it’s not always required.

Continuing education through certifications is also common. A CPA license, focused on tax filing, is accredited by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Another option is a CFA license, which allows financial analysts to guide clients in investment decisions. While not mandatory, certifications offer growth opportunities and more experience in the financial field through rigorous training.

Overall, a blend of education and certification can pave the way for success in both accounting management and controlling roles, providing a strong foundation and opening doors for advancement in the financial industry.

3. Work Environment

Accounting managers and controllers work in different settings. Accounting managers often work within companies, checking financial transactions for accuracy. They might also work for auditing or consulting firms.

Controllers typically work in offices where they can get the info they need for their tasks. Some might travel to meet clients or attend company meetings. Overall, both roles involve ensuring financial accuracy and compliance, but the work environments differ.

Accounting managers are more focused on internal audits within a company, while controllers handle financial tasks in an office setting, sometimes interacting directly with clients or other departments.

4. Skills

Both accounting managers and controllers must excel in math, using it daily for tasks like reviewing financial reports and budgeting. They also need sharp attention to detail for accuracy.

While both roles involve overseeing finances, they may require different skills. For instance, accounting managers benefit from project management skills to coordinate team efforts and meet deadlines. Controllers, on the other hand, may need advanced financial analysis skills to spot trends and offer suggestions for improving the organization’s financial health.

Both positions demand strong math skills and attention to detail, but their specific job requirements may call for additional skills like project management for accounting managers and financial analysis for controllers.

5. Salary

Accounting managers earn around $89,252 annually, while controllers make about $127,160 per year on average. Salaries can vary based on factors like company size, location, and experience level. These roles offer decent pay, with controllers generally earning more due to their higher level of responsibility.

However, actual salaries may differ depending on specific circumstances such as industry, qualifications, and additional responsibilities.


While both accounting managers and controllers play crucial roles in managing a company’s finances, there are significant differences between the two positions. Accounting managers oversee daily financial tasks and provide strategic guidance, while controllers focus on financial reporting, compliance, and risk management. Both roles require a strong educational background, including a bachelor’s degree and relevant certifications, along with essential skills such as math proficiency and attention to detail.

Despite these differences, both positions offer competitive salaries and opportunities for career advancement in the financial industry. If you are looking for an expert controller or accounting manager, contact us at


Q: What Qualifications Do I Need To Become An Accounting Manager Or Controller?

A: Generally, a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field is required. Additional certifications such as CPA or CFA can enhance your prospects.

Q: What Are The Main Differences Between An Accounting Manager And A Controller?

A: Accounting managers oversee daily financial tasks and provide guidance, while controllers focus on financial reporting, compliance, and risk management.

Q: How Do Salaries For Accounting Managers And Controllers Compare?

A: On average, controllers earn a higher salary compared to accounting managers due to their higher level of responsibility.

Q: What Skills Are Essential For Success In Both Roles?

A: Strong math skills, attention to detail, and the ability to analyze financial data are crucial for both accounting managers and controllers. Additionally, accounting managers may benefit from project management skills, while controllers may require advanced financial analysis abilities.


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