Career Development

What Does a Financial Controller Do?

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

The role of a financial controller is one that requires them to be on top of all things financial. They are responsible for overseeing the finances of an organization and ensuring that it operates in accordance with its stated goals, objectives, and policies.

Financial controllers typically work within larger organizations where they have access to a wide range of resources and personnel. This allows them to oversee many different aspects of the business at once while still maintaining a high level of focus on their specific area of responsibility.

Financial Controller Job Duties

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

  • Monitoring cash flow to ensure that the company has enough money to pay its bills on time
  • Preparing financial statements including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements
  • Providing financial information to management regarding budgets, cost control measures, and capital expenditures
  • Analyzing data to identify trends that can help improve company performance
  • Reviewing financial statements prepared by other departments within the company to ensure they are accurate
  • Recommending changes to accounting methods or procedures that could improve the accuracy of financial reports
  • Reviewing financial statements prepared by other departments within the company to ensure they are accurate
  • Preparing forecasts of future financial performance using computer software packages such as Excel or SAP
  • Preparing reports on financial status for management use, such as cash flow projections and budgets for departments within the company

Financial Controller Salary & Outlook

The salary of a financial controller can vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. Financial controllers working in the corporate sector typically earn more than those working in government or nonprofit organizations.

  • Median Annual Salary: $95,000 ($45.67/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $137,000 ($65.87/hour)

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

Demand for financial controllers will increase as firms seek to improve their profitability and efficiency. As companies continue to globalize, they will need to monitor and control costs in order to remain competitive.

Financial Controller Job Requirements

A number of qualifications are necessary to become a financial controller, which may include:

Education: Most employers require financial controllers to have a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or business administration. Some employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). An MBA takes two years to complete and includes coursework in finance, accounting, marketing, management and business law.

Training & Experience: Many companies prefer candidates with at least five years of experience in a financial role. Some companies may prefer candidates with at least 10 years of experience. Candidates can gain experience in a variety of roles, including accounting clerk, bookkeeper, accountant and financial analyst.

Financial controllers often receive on-the-job training in their first few months with a company. This training may include learning the company’s financial software and systems, as well as the company’s policies and procedures.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications allow you to prove your skills and qualifications to current and potential employers. Financial controllers can earn certifications to gain more theoretical and practical knowledge of their responsibilities and further their career advancement opportunities.

Financial Controller Skills

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

Accounting: Accounting is the process of recording and analyzing financial data. It’s important for finance professionals to have a thorough understanding of accounting practices and procedures. This is because they often work with accountants to interpret financial data and make informed business decisions.

Budgeting: Budgeting is the process of forecasting and tracking expenses and revenue. Financial controllers use their budgeting skills to create financial models and projections for their organizations. They use their budgeting skills to create and monitor budgets for individual departments and teams.

Analysis: Financial controllers use analytical skills to review financial data and make informed decisions. They analyze data to identify trends, make projections and identify areas of improvement. Effective financial controllers use their analytical skills to make decisions about budgeting, forecasting, investment strategies and other financial matters.

Data analysis: Data analysis is the ability to interpret financial data and make sense of it. Financial controllers use data analysis to review and interpret financial data, including profit and loss statements, balance sheets and other financial documents. Data analysis also involves the ability to identify trends and patterns in financial data.

Communication: Financial controllers often communicate with a variety of stakeholders, including investors, company owners, managers and other employees. They must be able to clearly and concisely convey financial information in a way that everyone can understand. They also must be able to listen to questions and concerns from employees and address them in a way that helps employees understand the company’s financial situation.

Financial Controller Work Environment

Financial controllers work in the financial department of a company and are responsible for the financial planning, management, and control of the company. They work with the company’s accounting department to ensure that the financial statements are accurate and in compliance with the law. Financial controllers also work with the company’s auditors to ensure that the financial statements are free of errors and meet the standards of the auditing profession. Financial controllers typically work a regular forty-hour week, although they may work longer hours during busy periods, such as the end of the fiscal year.

Financial Controller Trends

Here are three trends influencing how financial controllers work. Financial 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 Greater Transparency

The financial controller profession is becoming increasingly more important as businesses become more reliant on accurate and timely financial information. This is due to the increasing demand for greater transparency from both investors and customers.

As financial controllers, you will need to be able to provide this transparency by ensuring that your company’s financial data is accurate and easy to understand. You will also need to be able to identify and address any potential risks or issues that may impact your company’s finances.

More Focus on Risk Management

Risk management is an essential part of the financial controller role, as it involves identifying and mitigating potential risks to the company.

As risk management becomes a more important focus for businesses, financial controllers will need to be well-versed in risk assessment techniques and strategies for managing risk. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with other members of the business team about risk and how to manage it.

Greater Use of Technology

The use of technology in the accounting field is growing rapidly as financial professionals look for ways to make their jobs easier. One of the most popular uses of technology is cloud accounting software, which allows users to access their accounts from anywhere in the world.

Financial controllers can take advantage of this trend by adopting cloud accounting software that offers features such as automated invoicing and bill payment. This will allow them to stay on top of their work without having to spend time on tedious tasks like entering data into spreadsheets.

How to Become a Financial Controller

A career as a financial controller can be rewarding in many ways. It offers the opportunity to work with and learn from experienced professionals, to develop your own skills and abilities, and to see the results of your hard work pay off.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a demanding career path that requires dedication and hard work. You will need to be able to handle large amounts of complex data, make accurate calculations under pressure, and think critically about business problems. You will also need to be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.

Advancement Prospects

There are many ways to advance your career as a financial controller. One of the best ways is to get an advanced degree in business administration or accounting. This will give you the skills and knowledge you need to move into management positions. You can also advance your career by becoming a certified public accountant or a certified management accountant. These credentials will give you the ability to work in more senior positions in accounting and finance. Another way to advance your career is to move into a position in a larger company. Financial controllers who work in large companies usually have more responsibility and earn more money than those who work in smaller companies.

Financial Controller Job Description Example

The financial controller is a senior-level executive who is responsible for the financial health of the company. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies to grow the company’s wealth. The financial controller position is a critical role in any company. They are responsible for safeguarding the company’s assets and ensuring that all financial transactions are properly recorded. The financial controller must be able to think strategically and have a strong understanding of the financial markets. They must be able to develop long-term financial plans and make sound investment decisions.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Oversee all aspects of the organization’s accounting and finance operations
  • Ensure compliance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and regulatory requirements
  • Prepare accurate and timely financial statements in accordance with monthly, quarterly, and annual reporting deadlines
  • Manage cash flow and forecasting, ensuring that adequate funds are available to meet operational needs
  • Oversee accounts payable and receivable, ensuring that invoices are processed promptly and payments are made in a timely manner
  • Direct the preparation of tax returns and filings, ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local regulations
  • Coordinate audits and manage relationships with external auditors
  • Evaluate internal controls and recommend improvements to ensure the accuracy and completeness of financial reporting
  • Identify opportunities for process improvement and implement solutions to increase efficiency and reduce costs
  • Supervise and develop accounting and finance staff, providing mentorship and guidance as needed
  • Serve as a trusted advisor to senior management, providing insights and recommendations on financial planning and decision-making
  • Stay abreast of developments in accounting, taxation, and financial reporting, and proactively identify potential implications for the organization

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
  • Expertise in developing financial models and forecasting

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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