Controller Responsibilities

Contact: Financial Services Liaison

Overview

As a controller, you are responsible for the financial management activities within your college or division. Although the dean or director is ultimately accountable for your organization, and others may assist you, you are charged with the daily management activities intended to protect the sacred resources entrusted to BYU by the Church, donors, students and other stakeholders. In this role, you are the financial conscience within your organization and promote and protect the interests of not only your own area, but the interests of BYU as a whole.

While a controller’s responsibilities may vary from organization to organization, at a minimum, your duties include the following:

  • Helping line leaders establish budgets that represent operational priorities;
  • Analyzing financial results and providing management with information to assist in decision-making;
  • Managing systems to help ensure that financial transactions are recorded timely and accurately to proper accounts;
  • Promoting the wise and proper use of university assets and resources;
  • Establishing and monitoring internal controls and approved procedures for processing transactions;
  • Managing systems to help ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and university policy and procedures;
  • Providing helpful assistance in the hiring, training and development of dotted-line financial support personnel.

More specifics on some of these responsibilities are discussed below:

Budgeting and Financial Information for Decision Making

A key function of controllership is to help managers understand what, to them, may seem to be complex financial information. This may include comparisons of budget to actual, the composition of costs incurred, estimates of future activity, or preparing “what if” scenario analyses. Because you have a unique financial role, your observation and investigation of areas that have unexpected results should inform managers regarding potential problems.

Promote and Safeguard Use of Assets, and Internal Control

As a key member of the management team, the controller evaluates and consults with other college/division managers regarding operational questions and policies and procedures. Among the management issues that are of primary concern to the controller is the responsibility to  protect university assets and promote effective internal controls. Internal controls are designed to protect the organization and its employees. Controllers should teach internal control principles within their organizations and monitor processes to ensure that control procedures are operating effectively.

Laws, Regulations, Policies and Procedures

BYU is subject to a variety of regulatory requirements and the controller helps those within her/his college/division comply with those requirements. In this capacity, the controller works with the central administration to identify and resolve regulatory challenges. Controllers help expand the understanding of these issues and act as a conscience for the organization. You should inform college/division leaders regarding non-compliance issues of which you become aware and solicit their assistance with appropriate solutions. Significant or persistent issues may require the assistance of central management personnel.

Hiring and Developing Financial Support Personnel

Controllers should provide requested counsel in hiring personnel who act as financial assistants, and help those hired to develop adequate skills to support the financial transactions of the organization. Regular interaction with, and training of, those who have financial support responsibilities should be ongoing and address specific issues and procedures pertinent to their area of responsibility. Often this is accomplished through regular college or division meetings with financial support personnel where issues are discussed to expand each person’s expertise.