Is there a word for the person who decides how many things there will be?

For example: person A decides how many children will go on the annual trip (and then person B decides who these children will be). What word describes the job of person A?

Some more examples (thanks, J.R.):

  • How many freshmen will we admit into the college of engineering next fall?
  • How many printers our office will buy next year?
  • How many bags of potato chips we should bring to the family picnic?
  • How many windows should we have in each room in our new appartment?
  • How many questions should be in the final exam ?

The closest word I could think of is "counter", but a counter is the one that counts, not the one that decides about the number.

  • I am stumped. Every word I can think of is either too general (like "decision-maker"), too specific (like "financier"), or a word like "quantifier" – which looks good, but unfortunately doesn't mean what we want it to mean.
    – J.R.
    Sep 9, 2013 at 19:45
  • @J.R. What about "numerator"? Sep 14, 2013 at 18:51
  • 1
    Just remember, there's a fine line between the numerator and the denominator :^)
    – J.R.
    Sep 14, 2013 at 18:52

3 Answers 3


Comptroller (“The chief accountant of a company or government”) seems a likely choice if an institution has a single designated person who decides how many school-children can go on an annual trip. However, I'd expect a school's Board of Education to make such decisions, perhaps in consultation with a comptroller or CFO (chief financial officer), rather than there being a single person with such a responsibility or duty.

Slightly more generally, you might refer to a planner, “One who plans”, or a logistician, “A person involved with logistics”. Planner sometimes is used as a job title, for persons who plan out the procurement and disposition of materials and personnel for jobs. The term adjuster might also apply.

  • I was thinking along the same lines and came up with budgeter, which is probably not a word, or accountant. Like you, I think the decision how many children to send could be a financial one, so a word from the financial world would work best. Sep 9, 2013 at 6:57
  • 2
    I'm not sure the Board of Education would be involved; it could be a decision by a teacher, a principal, or the school superintendent. More importantly, though, I believe the O.P. is looking for a more general word, not tied to the realm of education – the decision could be how many printers an office will buy next year, or how many widgets will be added to an inventory, or how many bags of potato chips we should bring to the family picnic. In other words, rather than CIO, account manager, and Aunt Emma, he wants a single hypernym for all of them, because they are all deciding a quantity.
    – J.R.
    Sep 9, 2013 at 7:29
  • @J.R. Thanks for explaining my intention better than myself! Sep 9, 2013 at 7:56
  • @Derek - I was hoping the O.P. would weigh in, to correct me if I'm wrong. I had the feeling something more generic was sought, not just something financial. The decision for how many children go on the trip may be more logistical than financial, e.g. (How many seats are on the bus? How many will the museum give a tour to?); or the question might be something else, like, "How many freshmen will we admit into the college of engineering next fall?" Lastly, if someone was to ask me, "What does a comptroller do?" I don't think I'd answer: "It's a person who decides how many things there will be."
    – J.R.
    Sep 9, 2013 at 7:58
  • 1
    Erel - You might want to edit your question, and expand your examples, to show that it's not limited to something related to finances or education.
    – J.R.
    Sep 9, 2013 at 8:00

A word that comes to mind is Admission. Unfortunately i can't come up with a profession for that other than maybe "admission officer"

  • 3
    That's right on for the case of deciding on the number of freshmen allowed into college, but not at all related to the other examples.
    – Walter
    Sep 10, 2013 at 14:51

All the examples you give are quite situation-specific, and for each of these contexts there is generally a person who will specify the number. These roles will most often either have a context-specific title, or not be formally titled.

There is no generalised, cross-context name for a person who "decides how many things there will be". 'Decision-maker' is too broad, all the other terms are too narrow.

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