A comptroller is a management level position responsible for
supervising the quality of accounting and financial reporting of an
organization. A financial comptroller is a senior-level executive who
acts as the head of accounting, and oversees the preparation of
financial reports, such as balance sheets and income statements.
In most Commonwealth countries, the comptroller general, auditor
general, or comptroller and auditor general is the external auditor of
the budget execution of the government and of government-owned
companies. Typically, the independent institution headed by the
comptroller general is a member of the International Organization of
Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI). In American government, the
comptroller is effectively the chief financial officer of a public
In business management, the comptroller is closer to a chief audit
executive, holding a senior role in internal audit functions.
Generally, the title encompasses a variety of responsibilities, from
overseeing accounting and monitoring internal controls to
countersigning on expenses and commitments.
2 Business role
3 Government role
3.1 United Kingdom
3.2 United States
4 See also
5 Notes and references
The term comptroller evolved in the 15th century through a blend of
the French compte ("an account") and the
Middle English 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. This etymology
explains why the name is often pronounced identically to "controller"
despite the distinct spelling. However, comptroller is sometimes
pronounced phonetically by those unaware of the word's origins or who
wish specifically to avoid confusion with "controller."
A comptroller is a person in the business who oversees accounting and
the implementation and monitoring of internal controls, independently
from the chief financial officer (or CFO). In the United States, the
United Kingdom, Australia, Israel and Canada, a comptroller or
financial comptroller is a senior position, reporting to the CFO in
companies that have one.
In business, the title is typically spelled controller, with
government organizations only using the spelling comptroller.
The title of comptroller is used in the Royal Household for various
Comptroller of the Household
Comptroller of the Household (nowadays a sinecure, invariably held
by a government whip in the House of Commons). The office was
established as part of the Wardrobe (a powerful department of
household and state) in the 13th century, in order to maintain a check
on the accounts of the
Treasurer of the Household. Today, the
Comptroller's duties outside of government are minimal and mainly
Comptroller of the Lord Chamberlain's Office, who is a full-time
member of the Royal Household; his duties are concerned with the
arrangement of ceremonial affairs rather than financial affairs.
Comptroller of the Navy is a post in the
Royal Navy responsible
for procurement and matériel.
Comptroller and City Solicitor is one of the High Officers of the
City of London Corporation, responsible for provision of all legal
services. The post of comptroller dates from 1311, and that of City
Solicitor from 1544; the two were amalgamated in 1945.
Comptroller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks is the
head of the
UK Intellectual Property Office
UK Intellectual Property Office or Patent Office.
Comptroller and Auditor General is head of the National Audit
Office, and is the successor of the former
Comptroller General of the
Exchequer and the former Commissioners of Audit.
The title of comptroller is held by various government officials.
Comptroller General is the director of the Government
Accountability Office (GAO), an agency founded in 1921 (as General
Accounting Office) to ensure the accountability of the federal
Banks are supervised by the Office of the
Comptroller of the Currency,
an officer within the federal Department of The Treasury.
Several states and local governments (cities, counties, etc.) have
comptrollers, variously elected or appointed, with widely varying
powers over budgetary and management matters. (See Connecticut
Comptroller, Florida Comptroller, Illinois Comptroller,
Comptroller of New Jersey, New York State Comptroller,
Comptroller of Public Accounts; New York City Comptroller.)
Look up comptroller in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
"Comptroller". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.).
Comptroller of the Household
Chief audit executive
Director of Audit of Hong Kong
Notes and references
Etymology of comptroller at etymology online, etymonline.com.
Etymology of comptroller at Merriam-Webster online, m-w.com.
^ "the definition of comptroller". Dictionary.com.
^ "Controller Vs Comptroller". The Strategic CFO. Retrieved 3 May
^ "What is the Difference Between a Controller and a Comptroller?".
Accounting Degrees. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
^ "Home Page". U.S. office of the
Comptroller of t