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Treasurer vs. Controller: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

The treasurer and controller are both important positions in a company, but they have different responsibilities. The treasurer is responsible for the financial health of the company, while the controller is responsible for the accounting and financial reporting. In this article, we will discuss the similarities and differences between these two positions, and we will provide tips on how to choose the right position for you.

What is a Treasurer?

The Treasurer is responsible for the financial management of the company. This includes developing financial plans, overseeing investments, and managing cash flow. The Treasurer also works with the company’s financial institutions to ensure that the company has the necessary credit lines and loans in place. In addition, the Treasurer is responsible for managing the company’s risk management program. This includes developing policies and procedures to minimize the financial impact of risks, such as product liability and natural disasters.

What is a Controller?

Controllers oversee an organization’s accounting and financial reporting. They develop and maintain financial policies and procedures to ensure that an organization runs smoothly and efficiently. Controllers also prepare financial statements and reports to summarize an organization’s financial position. They work closely with other members of management to make sure that the organization’s financial goals are met. Controllers typically have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. They must also be licensed by the state in which they work.

Treasurer vs. Controller

Here are the main differences between a treasurer and a controller.

Job Duties

Treasurers and controllers share some job duties, such as budgeting, financial reporting and analyzing data. However, the treasurer’s job duties are more focused on money management, while a controller’s job duties are more focused on accounting. This means that a treasurer is more involved with the physical aspects of finance, such as managing cash and ensuring secure storage for valuable documents. A controller is more likely to be responsible for the technological elements of accounting, such as computer systems and software programs.

Another key difference between these two roles is that treasurers often have greater authority within an organization than controllers. This is because many companies consider the treasurer to be a senior financial officer, while most controllers work within the accounting department. While controllers may provide input on certain decisions, like choosing new software or updating current systems, they rarely have final say in major financial decisions made by a company.

Job Requirements

To become a treasurer or controller, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or another related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many treasurers and controllers pursue certifications through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) or the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use accounting software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Controllers typically work in an office setting, often spending their days at a desk or computer. They may travel to different locations within the company they’re working for and meet with employees to discuss projects and goals. Some controllers also have managerial responsibilities, so they may spend time on the floor of their department observing operations and ensuring that employees are completing tasks correctly.

Treasurers can also work in an office environment, but they may also visit clients and vendors to ensure that transactions are completed properly. Treasurers who work in finance departments may spend most of their time in an office, while treasurers who work in sales may travel frequently to meet with new clients.


Both treasurers and controllers need to have excellent math skills. They use math when they are creating financial reports, developing budgets and forecasting future needs. They also both need to be able to use accounting software programs to perform their job duties.

Treasurers and controllers also both need to have strong analytical skills. They need to be able to review data and identify trends that can help inform decision-making about where to allocate resources. They also both benefit from having strong problem-solving skills so they can develop creative solutions to financial challenges facing their company.

While both of these positions require excellent communication skills, treasurers may need to use them more often as they often interact with other departments within a company to discuss financial matters. Controllers typically communicate more with upper management, as they provide them with reports and updates on the financial status of the company.


The average salary for a treasurer is $111,162 per year, while the average salary for a controller is $127,160 per year. The salary for both positions may vary depending on the size of the company, the industry in which the company operates and the level of experience the employee has.


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