May 05 2011

What is a comptroller? What do they do?

Category: Accounting,Goverment,Jobs


ComptrollerA comptroller is essentially an accountant that has the responsibility of overseeing the finances and general fiscal health of a specific private or public institution to where they have been elected, appointed, or assigned. A privately owned company will typically hire a comptroller to implement, monitor, and report any and all income, expenditures, and other fiscal activity that comes about as a result of doing business. They will often report directly to the chief financial officer (CFO). An elected comptroller, on the other hand, will work with either a government or state municipality. They have similar responsibilities, but unlike the private sector, they report directly to a specific government official and ultimately to the people that elected them. Elected comptrollers can’t enact laws but they can issue proposals concerning financial legislation that may be adopted and developed into laws at a later date. Other government elected comptroller duties may include:

  • Ensuring that collected taxes are being used effectively and efficiently.
  • Maintaining an efficient accounting system and administering payroll for public employees.
  • Administering the retirement accounts for public employees.
  • Issuing reports on city, county, or state finances.
  • Managing municipal assets and issuing bonds/debt.
  • Reviewing/auditing contracts and payments located in their jurisdiction.
  • Conducting audits of local public agencies.

A comptroller is an essential position for all public and private organizations. They provide a system of checks and balances to ensure efficiency, help combat fraud, and reduce unnecessary loss.

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