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The Controller's Function: The Work of the Managerial Accountant, 4th Edition


Praise for The Controller's Function, Fourth Edition

"Clearly written and full of outstanding examples, Steve Bragg covers the controller's job function in a way I haven't seen before, with strong guidance on controls, ethics, fraud, and much more. Well done!"—Joel M. Ungar, CPA, CFE, Silberstein Ungar, PLLC

"The challenges facing businesses over the past few years, ranging from ethics violations to major recession, have highlighted the need for strong financial leadership. In his book The Controller's Function, Steven Bragg provides a framework of strong financial systems and controls that, if fully utilized, will greatly enhance a company's ability to safeguard its assets and successfully navigate through all business cycles and challenges."—Timothy E. Scullin, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, SIG Sauer, Inc.

"The book has everything needed to be a successful controller in a broad spectrum of companies and industries. It has the most comprehensive description of the controller's function I have seen and should be considered a must-have for anyone in, or desiring to be in, a controller position."—Nathan D. Ford, Senior Manager, Strothman & Company PSC

"Steven has done a great job in the Fourth Edition of this book in covering the additional roles and responsibilities of the modern controller. Modern controllers are expected to perform more than just traditional accounting functions such as recording transactions and issuing financial statements but also must add value in other ways such as recommending improvements and cost savings to management. This book can be the one source that the reader can use to guide them in all aspects of their role as controller." —James O. Bailey, CPA.EA, Co-owner, Ann Arbor Properties LLC

"Are you a novice or a seasoned-pro controller at a small business or publicly traded company? The Controller's Function: The Work of the Managerial Accountant, Fourth Edition will provide you with the latest knowledge required to perform your position at the highest level, especially the new chapters: Fast Close, SEC Filings, and Cost Reduction."—Geoffrey Garland, Consulting Controller, G3 & Associates

STEVEN M. BRAGG, CPA, has been the chief financial officer or controller of four companies, as well as a consulting manager at Ernst & Young and auditor at Deloitte. He is the author of over forty books primarily targeted toward controllers and their needs. He is also the author of Accounting Best Practices and Wiley GAAP, both published by Wiley.

Chapter 1: The Controller's Job.

Main Job Functions.

Job Description.

Job Qualifications.

Organizational Structure of the Accounting Department.


Chapter 2: Internal Control.

Basic Elements.

Controls to Use in Your Business.

Elements of Internal Accounting Control.

Levels of Controls.


Auditing for Fraud.


Chapter 3: Planning and the Strategic Plan.

Strategic Plan Overview.

System of Plans.

Planning Cycle.

Planning Roles.

Planning Timing and the Planning Period.

Business Mission.

Developing Long-Range Objectives.

Developing Long-Range Strategies.

Chapter 4: Long-Range Financial Plan.

Layout and Purpose.

Trends of Revenues and Profits.

Capital Investments.

Cash Flows and Financing Requirements.

Risk Analysis.

Breakdown by Business Unit/Product Line/Geography.

Financial Position.

Chapter 5: Annual Plan.

System of Plans.

Additional Budget Modeling Topics.

Annual Planning Cycle.

Role of the Controller.

Sales Planning: The Base of All Business Plans.

Steps in Developing the Near-Term Sales Plan.

Methods for Determining the Sales Forecast.

Changes in the Sales Mixture.

Changes in the Sales Price.

Changes in the Cost.

Chapter 6: Sales.

Role of the Controller.

Sales Analysis.

Sales Standards.

Sales Reports.

Product Pricing.

Chapter 7: Distribution Expenses.

Role of the Sales Manager.

Analyzing Distribution Costs.

Analyzing by Application.

Setting the Distribution Budget.

Chapter 8: Direct Materials and Labor.


Role of the Controller.

Types of Cost Systems.

Measuring Direct Material Costs.

Controlling Direct Material Costs.

Controlling Direct Material Quantities.

Measuring Direct Labor Costs.

Controlling Direct Labor Costs.

Target Costing.

Chapter 9: Overhead.

Need for Overhead Controls.

Responsibilities of the Controller.

Account Classifications.

Fixed and Variable Costs.

Cost Allocation.

Controlling Overhead.

Production Reports.

Chapter 10: General and Administrative Expenses.

Functions Involved.

Accounting for and Allocating Administrative Expenses.

Responsibility Accounting.

"Unique" Expenses.

Controlling Costs.

Chapter 11: Cash and Investments.

Objectives of Cash Management.

Role of the Controller.

Cash Collections.

Cash Disbursements.

Investment of Short-Term Funds.

Accounting for Records of Investment.

Cash and Investment Controls.

Chapter 12: Receivables.

Functions of the Credit Department.

Shortening the Receivables Cycle.

Reserve for Doubtful Accounts.

Receivables Fraud and Control.

Chapter 13: Inventory.

Inventory Management Systems.

Inventory Tracking.

Physical Inventory Procedure.

Inventory Valuation.

Inventory Fraud and Controls.

Chapter 14: Property, Plant, and Equipment.

Role of the Controller.

Capital Budgeting.

Postproject Appraisals.

Other Aspects of Fixed Assets.

Chapter 15: Liabilities.



Credit Agreement Provisions.

Debt Capacity.

Bond Ratings.


Chapter 16: Equity.

Role of the Controller.

Cost of Capital.

Dividend Policy.

Long-Term Equity Planning.

Repurchasing Common Shares.

Capital Stock Records.

Chapter 17: Operational Accounting.

Create Departmental Job Descriptions.

Create a Departmental Training Program.

Clear Out Excess Documentation.

Streamline the Accounting Workflow.

Document All Major Processes.

Schedule the Department.

Correct the Underlying Causes of Errors.

Use of Best Practices.

Outsourcing Selected Accounting Functions.

Chapter 18: The Fast Close.

Different Types of Fast Close.

How to Achieve a Fast Close.

Enhanced Closing Process.


Chapter 19: SEC Filings.

Form 8-K.

Annual 10-K and Quarterly 10-Q Reports.

Timing of Annual and Quarterly Report Filings.

Form S-1.

Form S-3.

Form S-8.

Forms Requiring Payment to the SEC.

Fedwire Payments.

Chapter 20: Performance Measurements and Trends.

Performance Measurements.


Interrelationship of Ratios.

Just-in-Time Ratios.

Chapter 21: Financial Analysis.

Analyzing Financial Statements.

Analyzing Working Capital.

Analyzing Financing Options.

Services Profitability Analysis.

The Throughput Analysis Model.

Production Outsourcing Decision.

New Product Decision.

Chapter 22: Cost Reduction.

Types of Reports Used for Cost Reduction Analysis.

Spend Analysis Overview.

Spend Database.

Supplier Consolidation Analysis.

Parts Consolidation Analysis.

Maintenance, Repair, and Operations Item Analysis.

Spend Compliance.

Spend Analysis Reports.

Workforce Reduction Analysis.

Workforce Reduction Issues.

Workforce Reduction Alternatives.

5S Analysis.

Check Sheets.

Error Quantification.

Fixed Cost Analysis.

Ishikawa Diagrams.

Value Stream Mapping.

Waste Analysis.

Chapter 23: Taxes.

Tax Strategy.

Tax Organization.

Role of the Tax Manager.

Tax Records.

Tax versus Book Accounting.

Sales and Use Taxes.

Proper Classification of Accounts.

Chapter 24: Selecting a Financial Information System.

Reasons to Purchase Software.

Defining Systems Requirements.

Existing System Documentation.

Joint Sessions.

Preparing the Request for Proposal.

Distribution of the Request for Proposal.

Review of the Vendor's Completed Proposal.

Reference Calls.


Site Visits.

Cost of the System.

Final Selection.

Contract Negotiations.

Postimplementation Review.

Appendix New Controller Checklist.

About the Author.