The simple answer here is that you should hire according to the outcomes you want for your business. If you intend to work with investors, go public, raise funds, etc., you will need a CFO. If not, you can probably hire a controller. In reality many controllers will go on to be CFOs, and many CFOs were once controllers. There is a lot of overlap in skills so in a small business or startup you can get away with just one of these roles for quite some time, particularly if you use a fractional CFO. It’s important to know that an experienced CFO will know what’s needed of a controller, but a controller may not know what’s needed of a CFO.