Bookkeeper, FC, FD, CFO … who does what and what can they do for you?


At EFM we’ve found that sometimes business owners can be unclear about the differences between and the value to be gained from the support of a bookkeeper, financial controller and finance director. EFM Financial Management

This is our short guide to what they do and how businesses can benefit.

A bookkeeper  records and processes the financial transactions of a company, be it organising supplier invoices, generating a company’s own invoices, managing the payroll and preparing VAT returns.  Poorly managed books have a knock-on effect throughout all levels of a business and in some cases can lead to costly fines or penalties.  At EFM we recommend you use an experienced bookkeeper.

Primarily, a good financial controller processes the data generated by a bookkeeper into a set of accounts – this could be a set of management accounts or more specialised analysis, such as calculating performance of certain services, departments or employees.

Typically, a finance director or CFO is a senior, board level executive who takes a proactive role in developing a company’s strategy with an eye to its finances. A finance director provides expert input in areas as varied as pensions, business plans, financial systems and property contracts.  Utilising the data generated by the bookkeeper and financial controller, a finance director can take decisions on the strategic direction of a company.

Often, there is confusion between the input of a finance director and an external accountant.  An external accountant can provide compliance and tax based services, whereas an FD gives commercial, board-level guidance to the day-to-day running of a company.

All three roles are important to a company.

It’s vital that businesses do not fall into one of three very common traps:

  1. Asking an underqualified individual to work on matters they do not have the skills or experience to do.
  2. Hiring a finance director expecting them to apply themselves to processing work they have little interest (or recent experience) in doing!
  3. Expecting an external accountant to provide FD services. An external accountant has an important role in providing necessary compliance services, but these are not the same as the commercial skills EFM Associate Directors and other FDs deliver.

EFM was set up with the aim of providing exactly the skillset a company needs, on a pay-as-you-use basis – one price for a full finance package that is delivered by a number of skilled individuals focused on what they know and what they do best.

Why not get in touch to find out more about how EFM can give your company the financial guidance it needs, and book a free consultation with one of our experts?