Difference Between Controller and Comptroller

Main Difference

The controller and comptroller titles refer to the same position, which is the person responsible for all accounting operations of a business. The controller title is more frequently found in for-profit businesses, while the comptroller title is more commonly found in governmental and non-profit organizations.

What is Controller?

A controller is a person that is at the highest accounting level in an organization. In other words, he/she is the head of the financial division of a company. Controllers are responsible for the financial accounting reporting, analysis and interpretation to the executive management team. They also administer the internal controls within an organization

What is Comptroller?

A comptroller definition is a senior accountant in a government organization; however, the duties of a comptroller and controller do not differ. Comptrollers are responsible for the financial accounting reporting, analysis and interpretation to the executive management team

Key Differences

  1. A controller is an accountant who manages the finances of a private or publicly traded company, and a comptroller is a person who performs these same functions for a governmental entity.
  2. Controllers are typically hired to work for private or non-profit businesses, whereas comptrollers are almost always employed within government organizations at the local, state, regional, or federal level.
  3. Comptrollers generally have a higher ranking in the financial industry than controllers with a higher salary potential.
  4. While comptrollers are more heavily involved in the organization’s internal costs and profits, controllers are more focused on the costs and profits associated with the final stage of the company’s rendered product or service.
  5. The words ‘comptroller’ and ‘controller’ are closely related to each other in the field of finance, and refer to finance personnel who conduct activities similar to one another.
  6. Comptrollers perform very similar tasks to a controller. A comptroller, however, may hold a higher ranking position in the organization and holds a higher level of responsibility.
  7. The major difference lies in the type of organization each one performs. A comptroller usually works for a government organization, whereas a controller will usually work in a private business.
  8. Controllers look at financial facts and figures after production or completion of services rendered; their main concern is the final bottom line. Comptrollers are different. They need to stay abreast of budgeting and staying within projected figures throughout every stage of business in order to keep constituents happy.
Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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