Creating Your Finance Team: The Players and Their Functions

Jan 4, 2023 Creating Your Finance Team podcast from ProCFO Partners

As a business executive, you understand the importance of having the right team in place for success. When it comes to your finance team, it’s critical to have the right players in the right roles. Think of your team as part of the systems that help your company run – without the right gears in your financial engine, you’re likely to sputter. This article will explore the different roles and responsibilities of a finance team, so you know what each player brings to the table and how to identify potential gaps and blind spots in your team.

The Different Financial Team Players and Their Roles

Tax Preparers:

Tax Preparers are responsible for preparing and filing tax returns. They research tax law, apply it to your specific situation, and provide advice on how to minimize your tax burden. Tax Preparers can also help with tax audits and appeals.


Bookkeepers are responsible for keeping the company’s financial records. They record transactions, post to ledgers and journals, and reconcile bank statements. Bookkeepers also create financial reports and track accounts payable and receivable. The bookkeeper is responsible for the day-to-day data entry transactions, posting of financial activity, categorizing expenses and revenue, sending out customer invoices, and processing payroll.

Sounds like a lot! And it can be. Yet in many small businesses, they may be the spouse, a cousin or a sibling. This can work out great, but recognize limitations. Your buddy may not be a tax expert, so don’t look for them to be. The business owner must create boundaries between the people entering data, analyzing data, and making decisions.


Accountants are responsible for analyzing financial data and preparing financial reports. They analyze financial statements, provide financial advice and guidance, and develop strategies for increasing profits and reducing costs.

The roles of bookkeeper and accountant are often blurred, but the bookkeeper typically focuses on entering data based on documents received, while the accountant goes further by thinking about accruals and closing the books at the end of the month. The accountant also takes a step back to analyze the data and present it in a more meaningful way to decision makers or stakeholders.

Tax accountants can offer services beyond simply preparing paperwork for filing taxes, which is an important distinction from being a tax preparer. Depending on the complexity of the business decision, the tax accountant can provide advice on the implications of the decision and help to plan a tax strategy.


Controllers are responsible for managing the financial operations of the company. They develop and maintain internal financial controls and systems, and oversee the preparation of financial statements. They also analyze financial trends and provide recommendations for business decision making.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO):

A CFO is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s financial operations. They develop and implement financial strategies, create and monitor budgets, and provide guidance on financial decisions. They can also serve as a liaison between the company and external stakeholders.

A CFO is a valuable asset for any business looking to make strategic decisions. The controller provides past information and the CFO steps in to look through a more strategic lense, for instance  at the terms of a loan and the implications of it. They can advise on what the short and long-term implications of that loan may be, and can provide advisory services for how that loan can help the business grow.

Assessing Your Team

Now that you understand the different roles and responsibilities of a finance team, you can assess your current team. Ask yourself: Do you have the right players in the right roles? Do you have any gaps or blind spots in your team?

The role of a CFO exists around strategy, information, and decisions that come with it. It is important to recognize when expertise and needs of the business escalate to a new or different level, and when it is necessary to bring in someone to help with emerging or more sophisticated needs. This is an advantage of the fractional CFO, who can provide expert insight and guidance on a limited engagement. Many – in fact perhaps most – companies don’t require the expense and overhead of a full-time CFO, they just need the strategic insights the CFO can provide at specific times or in certain situations.

If you don’t have the right players or you’re missing a role, you may need to add team members or revise the roles of existing members. Be mindful, however, to consider skillsets. Just because your bookkeeper has been a valuable teammate for fifteen years doesn’t mean they possess the experience or expertise to guide financial strategy. 


Having the right players on your finance team is essential for success. Evaluate your team to identify potential gaps and blind spots, and make sure everyone is in the right role. By understanding the different roles and responsibilities of a finance team, you’ll be able to create a high performance team that’s ready to tackle any financial challenge.

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