Course Outline
Join PRO

What is a controller's cushion?

Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

A controller’s cushion or controller’s reserve involves temporarily recording too much expense for an item that the controller calculates. For example, the controller might budget $48,000 per year for depreciation and then record $4,000 of actual depreciation expense for each month. However, the controller expects the actual depreciation to be only $44,000 for the year.

For the first eleven months, the financial statements will report $44,000 of depreciation expense. Then in the 12th and final month of the year no depreciation expense is recorded. This means that depreciation expense will beat its budget by $4,000 ($44,000 of actual depreciation versus the annual budget of $48,000). This favorable $4,000 is the controller’s cushion. The idea is that this will cushion the effects of some unexpected expenses or losses that come to light at the end of the accounting year.

The controller’s reserve or controller’s cushion is related to a concept known as budgetary slack.

Join PRO to Track Progress
Must-Watch Video

Advance Your Accounting and Bookkeeping Career

  • Perform better at your job
  • Get hired for a new position
  • Understand your small business
  • Pass your accounting class
Watch the Video

Join PRO or PRO Plus and Get Lifetime Access to Our Premium Materials

Read all 2,645 reviews



PRO Plus

Lifetime Access (One-Time Fee)
Word Scrambles
Bookkeeping Video Training
Financial Statements Video Training
Visual Tutorials
Quick Tests
Quick Tests with Coaching
Cheat Sheets
Business Forms
All PDF Files
Progress Tracking
Earn Badges and Points
Certificate - Debits and Credits
Certificate - Adjusting Entries
Certificate - Financial Statements
Certificate - Balance Sheet
Certificate - Income Statement
Certificate - Cash Flow Statement
Certificate - Working Capital
Certificate - Financial Ratios
Certificate - Bank Reconciliation
Certificate - Payroll Accounting

About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has
worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on

Learn More About Harold

Certificates of

Certificates of Achievement

We now offer 10 Certificates of Achievement for Introductory Accounting and Bookkeeping:

  • Debits and Credits
  • Adjusting Entries
  • Financial Statements
  • Balance Sheet
  • Income Statement
  • Cash Flow Statement
  • Working Capital and Liquidity
  • Financial Ratios
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Payroll Accounting
Badges and Points
  • Work towards and earn 30 badges
  • Earn points as you work towards completing our course
View PRO Plus Features
Course Outline
Take the Tour Join Pro Upgrade to Pro Plus