Comptroller

Comptroller

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A comptroller is a management
Management
Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively...

 level position responsible for supervising the quality of accounting
Accountancy
Accountancy is the process of communicating financial information about a business entity to users such as shareholders and managers. The communication is generally in the form of financial statements that show in money terms the economic resources under the control of management; the art lies in...

 and financial reporting of an organization.

In British government, the Comptroller General
Comptroller General
Comptroller General or Comptroller-General or Controller General may refer to:* the Comptroller General of the United States, director of the Government Accountability Office* Comptroller General of Convicts...

 or Comptroller and Auditor General
Comptroller and Auditor General
Comptroller and auditor-general is the abbreviated title of a government official in a number of jurisdictions, including the UK, the Republic of Ireland, India, and China....

 is in most countries the external auditor of the budget execution of the government and of government-owned companies
Government-owned corporation
A government-owned corporation, state-owned company, state-owned entity, state enterprise, publicly owned corporation, government business enterprise, or parastatal is a legal entity created by a government to undertake commercial activities on behalf of an owner government...

. Typically, the independent institution headed by the Comptroller General
Comptroller General
Comptroller General or Comptroller-General or Controller General may refer to:* the Comptroller General of the United States, director of the Government Accountability Office* Comptroller General of Convicts...

 is member of the INTOSAI. In American government, the Comptroller is effectively the Chief Financial Officer
Chief financial officer
The chief financial officer or Chief financial and operating officer is a corporate officer primarily responsible for managing the financial risks of the corporation. This officer is also responsible for financial planning and record-keeping, as well as financial reporting to higher management...

 of a public body.

In business management, the Comptroller is closer to a Chief Audit Executive
Chief Audit Executive
The Chief Audit Executive , Director of Audit, Director of Internal Audit, Auditor General, or Controller General is a high level independent corporate executive with overall responsibility for the Internal audit....

, holding a senior role in internal audit
Internal audit
Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization's operations. It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk...

 functions. Generally, the title encompasses a variety of responsibilities, from overseeing accounting and monitoring internal control
Internal control
In accounting and auditing, internal control is defined as a process effected by an organization's structure, work and authority flows, people and management information systems, designed to help the organization accomplish specific goals or objectives. It is a means by which an organization's...

s to countersigning on expenses and commitments.

Etymology


The term comptroller evolved in the 15th century through a blend of the French compte ("an account") and the Middle English
Middle English
Middle English is the stage in the history of the English language during the High and Late Middle Ages, or roughly during the four centuries between the late 11th and the late 15th century....

 countreroller (someone who checks a copy of a scroll, from the French contreroule "counter-roll, scroll copy"), thus creating a title for a compteroller who specializes in checking financial ledgers
General ledger
The main accounting record of a business which uses double-entry bookkeeping. It will usually include accounts for such items as current assets, fixed assets, liabilities, revenue and expense items, gains and losses. Each General Ledger is divided into debits and credits sections. The left hand...

. This etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 explains why the name is pronounced identically to "controller" despite the unique spelling. However, comptroller is often pronounced phonetically in modern times.

Business role


A Comptroller, or Financial Controller, or Financial Control Officer (FCO) is an accounting/audit
Audit
The general definition of an audit is an evaluation of a person, organization, system, process, enterprise, project or product. The term most commonly refers to audits in accounting, but similar concepts also exist in project management, quality management, and energy conservation.- Accounting...

 expert in a business who oversees accounting and the implementation and monitoring of internal control
Internal control
In accounting and auditing, internal control is defined as a process effected by an organization's structure, work and authority flows, people and management information systems, designed to help the organization accomplish specific goals or objectives. It is a means by which an organization's...

s, independently from the Chief Accountant ("CAO") or the Chief Financial Officer
Chief financial officer
The chief financial officer or Chief financial and operating officer is a corporate officer primarily responsible for managing the financial risks of the corporation. This officer is also responsible for financial planning and record-keeping, as well as financial reporting to higher management...

 ("CFO"). In the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, a comptroller or financial comptroller is a senior
Senior
Senior may refer to:* Senior citizen, a common polite designation for an elderly person in both UK and US English* Senior , a 2010 album by Röyksopp* Senior , a student in the final year of high school, college or university...

 position, reporting to a CFO in companies that have one.

Jersey


The title of comptroller is used in the Comptroller of Taxes, who is the head of the Jersey
Jersey
Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, the bailiwick includes two groups of small islands that are no longer permanently inhabited, the Minquiers and Écréhous, and the Pierres de Lecq and...

 Taxes Office.

United Kingdom


The title of comptroller is used in the Comptroller of the Household
Comptroller of the Household
The Comptroller of the Household is an ancient position in the English royal household, currently the second-ranking member of the Lord Steward's department, and often a cabinet member. He was an ex officio member of the Board of Green Cloth, until that body was abolished in the reform of the local...

, where it is a senior Whip
Whip (politics)
A whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party's "enforcers", who typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy...

, a senior member of the Royal Household
Royal Household
A Royal Household in ancient and medieval monarchies formed the basis for the general government of the country as well as providing for the needs of the sovereign and his relations....

, though its duties in this regard are purely nominal. The Comptroller of the Lord Chamberlain's Office
Lord Chamberlain's Office
The Lord Chamberlain's Office is a department within the British Royal Household. It is presently concerned with matters such as protocol, state visits, investitures, garden parties, the State Opening of Parliament, royal weddings and funerals. For example, in April 2005 it organised the wedding of...

, however, is a full-time member of the Royal Household. His duties are concerned with the arrangement of ceremonial affairs rather than financial affairs.

The National Audit Office
National Audit Office (United Kingdom)
The National Audit Office is an independent Parliamentary body in the United Kingdom which is responsible for auditing central government departments, government agencies and non-departmental public bodies...

 is headed by the Comptroller and Auditor General
Comptroller and Auditor General
Comptroller and auditor-general is the abbreviated title of a government official in a number of jurisdictions, including the UK, the Republic of Ireland, India, and China....

. Similarly, the Patent Office
Patent office
A patent office is a governmental or intergovernmental organization which controls the issue of patents. In other words, "patent offices are government bodies that may grant a patent or reject the patent application based on whether or not the application fulfils the requirements for...

, sometimes unofficially known as the UK Intellectual Property Office, is headed by the Comptroller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks.

For Comptroller General
Comptroller General
Comptroller General or Comptroller-General or Controller General may refer to:* the Comptroller General of the United States, director of the Government Accountability Office* Comptroller General of Convicts...

 and Comptroller and Auditor General
Comptroller and Auditor General
Comptroller and auditor-general is the abbreviated title of a government official in a number of jurisdictions, including the UK, the Republic of Ireland, India, and China....

, which are typically titles of even higher level government officials (titles of Heads of Supreme Audit Institutions), see the list in Comptroller and Auditor General
Comptroller and Auditor General
Comptroller and auditor-general is the abbreviated title of a government official in a number of jurisdictions, including the UK, the Republic of Ireland, India, and China....

 or in INTOSAI.

United States


The title of comptroller is held by various government officials.
  • The Comptroller General
    Comptroller General of the United States
    The Comptroller General of the United States is the director of the Government Accountability Office , a legislative branch agency established by Congress in 1921 to ensure the fiscal and managerial accountability of the federal government...

     is the director of the Government Accountability Office
    Government Accountability Office
    The Government Accountability Office is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress. It is located in the legislative branch of the United States government.-History:...

     (GAO), an agency founded in 1921 to ensure the accountability of the federal government.
  • Banks are supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is a US federal agency established by the National Currency Act of 1863 and serves to charter, regulate, and supervise all national banks and the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States...

    , an officer within the federal Department of The Treasury.
  • Several states and local governments (cities, counties, etc.) have comptrollers or controllers, variously elected or appointed, with widely varying powers over budgetary and management matters. (See Connecticut Comptroller
    Connecticut Comptroller
    The State Comptroller is the chief fiscal guardian of the State of Connecticut. The duties and responsibilities of the state comptroller include, among other things, overseeing state accounting, preparing state financial reports, paying and administering benefits to state employees, settling...

    , Illinois Comptroller, Comptroller of Maryland
    Comptroller of Maryland
    The Comptroller of Maryland, United States, currently Peter Franchot, is the state's chief financial officer and is also elected by the people for a four year term. The comptroller is not term-limited. The office was established by the Maryland Constitution of 1851 due to concern about the...

    , New York State Comptroller
    New York State Comptroller
    The New York State Comptroller is a state cabinet officer of the U.S. state of New York. The duties of the comptroller include auditing government operations and operating the state's retirement system.-History:...

    , Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
    Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
    The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts is an executive branch position created by the Texas Constitution. As with nearly every other executive branch head, the Comptroller is popularly elected every four years concurrently with the Governor and the other elected executive branch positions...

    .)

See also


  • Comptroller of the Household
    Comptroller of the Household
    The Comptroller of the Household is an ancient position in the English royal household, currently the second-ranking member of the Lord Steward's department, and often a cabinet member. He was an ex officio member of the Board of Green Cloth, until that body was abolished in the reform of the local...

  • Comptroller and Auditor General
    Comptroller and Auditor General
    Comptroller and auditor-general is the abbreviated title of a government official in a number of jurisdictions, including the UK, the Republic of Ireland, India, and China....

  • Inspector General
    Inspector General
    An Inspector General is an investigative official in a civil or military organization. The plural of the term is Inspectors General.-Bangladesh:...

  • Auditor general
    Auditor General
    - Auditor General of National Audit Offices :*Auditor General of the Australian National Audit Office*Auditor General of Canada*Auditor General of China*Auditor General of Pakistan*Auditor General for Scotland*Auditor-General...

    ; CAE in the Internal audit
    Internal audit
    Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization's operations. It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk...

     page; Director of audit
    Director of Audit
    Director of Audit may refer to:*Chief audit executive - a corporate executive position*Director of Audit - head of the Audit Commission of Hong Kong...

  • Director of Audit of Hong Kong
  • Treasurer
    Treasurer
    A treasurer is the person responsible for running the treasury of an organization. The adjective for a treasurer is normally "tresorial". The adjective "treasurial" normally means pertaining to a treasury, rather than the treasurer.-Government:...

  • Corporate title
    Corporate title
    Publicly and privately held for-profit corporations confer corporate titles or business titles on company officials as a means of identifying their function in the organization...