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The most common are business controllers and corporate controllers, who handle entire accounting systems for their employers. For smaller companies, this means setting up the accounting infrastructure and performing the bookkeeping, whereas larger companies use controllers in an overseer role.

A business controller is essentially a chief accounting officer for a firm. The controller is considered a member of the executive staff and typically plays a critical role in organizing and (for lack of a better term) controlling the accounting personnel in the company.

A common yet under-appreciated role of the business controller is interpreting financial data. Controllers typically have a great deal of accounting and business forecasting experience, particularly as it pertains to tax management. A controller may also be called on to lend his or her expertise on investments, creditor relationships, corporate governance, or other areas.

Often, the controller has one or two assistant controllers at their disposal. Assistant controllers are normally less experienced and spend more time in the day-to-day minutiae of data collection, regulatory and statutory reporting, and the preparation of particularly challenging journal entries.

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