Career Development

What Does a Business Controller Do?

Find out what a business controller does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a business controller.

The role of a business controller is one that requires an individual to be highly organized, detail-oriented and analytical. They are responsible for overseeing the financial health of their organization by managing its budget, monitoring its expenditures, and ensuring that it remains profitable.

Business controllers may also play an active role in helping to shape the overall strategy of their company by providing input on new product development or marketing initiatives.

Business Controller Job Duties

A business controller typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Reviewing financial statements to ensure they are accurate and complete
  • Communicating with top management to provide insight on major financial issues that may impact the organization’s performance in the future
  • Evaluating financial performance of the business by analyzing reports generated by the accounting system
  • Managing the accounting department and providing leadership in the areas of finance, accounting, tax, or auditing
  • Analyzing financial data to identify trends, opportunities for improvement, and risks
  • Managing budgets and forecasting future needs for capital expenditures or hiring more staff members
  • Preparing financial reports for management including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and other statements required by regulatory agencies such as the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Implementing controls to ensure compliance with government regulations regarding financial reporting and disclosures
  • Coordinating with external auditors to ensure that audits are performed according to standard auditing practices

Business Controller Salary & Outlook

Business controllers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses and commissions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $97,138 ($46.7/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $148,000 ($71.15/hour)

The employment of business controllers is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Organizations will continue to need business controllers to ensure that their businesses are efficient and profitable. Business controllers will be needed to help companies navigate complex tax laws and regulations, especially as tax rates and policies change over time.

Related: Business Controller Interview Questions and Answers

Business Controller Job Requirements

A controller position in a business usually requires the following:

Education: A bachelor’s degree is often a minimum requirement to become a business controller. Some of the most common majors for business controllers are accounting, finance and business administration.

Training & Experience: Many business controllers receive on-the-job training in their entry-level positions. This training helps them learn the specific processes and procedures of the company. It also helps them learn the software and computer systems they will use in their daily work.

Business controllers can also receive training through internships. During an internship, students can learn more about the accounting industry and the specific duties of a business controller. They can also gain practical experience in a business setting.

Certifications & Licenses: The certifications offered by the Professional Certification Program are optional, but they can help business controllers demonstrate their expertise and increase their earning potential.

Business Controller Skills

Business controllers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Accounting skills: Accounting skills are necessary for business controllers, as they are responsible for maintaining the company’s financial records. Accounting skills can include knowledge of bookkeeping, budgeting, taxes and other financial processes. Business controllers should be able to understand and interpret financial data to make informed business decisions.

Financial analysis: Financial analysis is the ability to interpret financial data and make predictions based on the data. Business controllers often use financial analysis to make decisions about the future of a company. This skill requires knowledge of finance and accounting, as well as the ability to interpret data.

Data analysis: Business controllers use data analysis to interpret financial data and make informed decisions. They may use data analysis to forecast company revenue, analyze profit margins and examine financial data to identify areas of improvement. Data analysis requires extensive knowledge of financial terminology and accounting practices.

Business acumen: Business acumen is the ability to understand the current business environment and predict future trends. Business acumen is an important skill for business controllers because it allows them to make informed decisions about the company’s finances. For example, a business controller with business acumen might notice that a company’s revenue is decreasing and predict that it will continue to decrease in the future. This information can help the company make decisions about how to best use its resources.

Communication: Business controllers often communicate with a variety of individuals, including company executives, employees, clients and suppliers. Effective communication is crucial to the success of a business controller, as they must be able to convey information clearly and concisely. They must also be able to listen to others and respond to questions or concerns in a way that is helpful.

Business Controller Work Environment

Business controllers work in a variety of settings, including corporate offices, government agencies, and accounting firms. They typically work full time, and some may work more than 40 hours per week to meet deadlines or to handle special projects. Many business controllers travel to meet with clients or to attend conferences. Some business controllers may be under a great deal of stress because of the nature of their work, which often requires them to make quick decisions that could have a significant financial impact on their employer.

Business Controller Trends

Here are three trends influencing how business controllers work. Business controllers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for Data-Driven Decision Making

The need for data-driven decision making is becoming increasingly important in business. This is because data can provide a more accurate picture of what is happening in the company, which can help managers make better decisions.

Business controllers can take advantage of this trend by becoming more familiar with data analysis tools and techniques. This will allow them to better understand the data that is being collected and how it can be used to make better decisions.

More Focus on Financial Reporting

As businesses become more complex, the need for financial reporting becomes more important. This is because financial reporting provides a clear picture of the health of the company, which is essential for investors and stakeholders.

Business controllers can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in financial reporting. They can do this by developing skills in areas such as accounting, auditing, and budgeting. In addition, they should also focus on developing relationships with key stakeholders within the company.

Greater Attention to Risk Management

Risk management is an area that is receiving increasing attention from businesses across all industries. This is due to the fact that risk can have a significant impact on the bottom line, and businesses are realizing that they need to be proactive about managing it.

As business controllers, you are in a unique position to capitalize on this trend. You have access to information about the risks that your company faces, and you can use this information to develop strategies for mitigating those risks.

How to Become a Business Controller

A business career can be rewarding in many ways. It offers the opportunity to work with people, develop new ideas, and see your hard work pay off. But it’s important to choose the right path for you.

If you want a business career that allows you to work with people, consider becoming a salesperson, customer service representative, or human resources manager. These jobs will give you the chance to interact with customers and employees on a daily basis and help them solve their problems.

If you want a business career that gives you more freedom to think creatively, consider becoming an entrepreneur or a marketing manager. As an entrepreneur, you can start your own business and have complete control over its operations. As a marketing manager, you can come up with creative ways to promote products and services and reach new customers.

Advancement Prospects

The position of business controller is a high-level position, and the path to advancement is not always clear. In some cases, controllers may be promoted to chief financial officer or another top executive position. In other cases, they may move into a related field, such as auditing or risk management.

Controllers who have a strong understanding of both accounting and finance are in the best position to advance their careers. Those who have earned a certified public accountant (CPA) designation or a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) will have the best opportunities for advancement.

Business Controller Job Description Example

The Business Controller is responsible for the financial management of the company and provides financial reports, analysis and recommendations to the CEO and Board of Directors.

The Business Controller job description includes the following duties and responsibilities:

– Overseeing the financial operations of the company and ensuring that all financial transactions are properly recorded

– Preparing financial statements and reports

– Analyzing financial data and providing recommendations to improve the financial performance of the company

– Managing the company’s budget

– Coordinating audits

– Ensuring compliance with financial regulations

The Business Controller job requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance and at least 5 years of experience in financial management. The ideal candidate for this job should have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, be detail-oriented and be able to work independently.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with business partners to ensure a deep understanding of the business’ needs
  • Lead and oversee all aspects of the monthly close process, ensuring timely and accurate reporting
  • Prepare journal entries, account reconciliations, and other month-end tasks as needed
  • Analyze financial statements and identify trends, discrepancies, and opportunities for improvement
  • Develop and implement processes and controls to ensure accuracy and compliance with GAAP
  • Manage the preparation of annual budgets and forecasts in collaboration with business leadership
  • Monitor actual results against budget and forecast, providing variance analysis and recommendations for corrective action as needed
  • Support business decision making by providing insightful analysis of financial data
  • Identify process improvements and drive implementation of solutions
  • Train and develop team members to enhance their skills and capabilities
  • Serve as a business partner to assigned functions, providing financial guidance and support
  • Perform ad hoc analysis as requested

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, or related field
  • 10+ years proven accounting experience
  • Professional accounting certification, including CMA, CGA, or CA
  • Working knowledge of finance law and regulatory standards (GAAP)
  • Strong understanding of economic and banking processes

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • 5+ years experience as a senior-level accounting or finance manager
  • Strong working knowledge of detailed financial data analysis
  • Proven payroll experience, with a focus on streamlining accounting processes
  • Exemplary history of financial project management
  • Working knowledge of federal, state, and local tax compliance regulations and reporting
  • CPA highly preferred


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