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Plant Controller vs. Controller: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

The job titles plant controller and controller are often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences between the two positions. A plant controller is responsible for the financial management of a manufacturing plant, while a controller is responsible for the financial management of a company. If you’re interested in a career in financial management, understanding the differences between these two positions can help you choose the right path for you. In this article, we discuss the duties of plant controllers and controllers, the differences between the two positions and the skills you need to succeed in each role.

What is a Plant Controller?

Plant Controllers are responsible for the financial management of manufacturing plants. They work with plant managers to develop budgets and track spending. Plant Controllers also develop cost-saving strategies and initiatives. They prepare financial reports and analysis to present to upper management. Plant Controllers work closely with accounting staff to ensure accurate financial reporting. They also develop policies and procedures to ensure compliance with financial regulations.

What is a Controller?

Controllers are responsible for the financial planning and record-keeping of a company. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities and develop strategies to ensure the long-term financial health of the organization. Controllers work with accounting staff to ensure that all financial reporting is accurate and compliant with regulations. They also work with senior management to develop budgets and track spending. In some organizations, the Controller may also be responsible for information technology or human resources.

Plant Controller vs. Controller

Here are the main differences between a plant controller and a controller.

Job Duties

A plant controller oversees the entire manufacturing process for a product. They’re responsible for ensuring that all employees fulfill their duties and work together to create a quality product. Plant controllers manage production schedules, ensure proper equipment maintenance and oversee employee training programs.

A corporate controller manages financial activities within an organization. They develop budgets, monitor spending, review financial reports and provide financial advice to upper management. Corporate controllers are also responsible for creating and maintaining accounting systems. These systems may include software programs or manual filing methods like spreadsheets.

Job Requirements

Plant controllers and controllers typically need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or another related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many plant controllers and controllers pursue certifications through the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use accounting software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Controllers may work in a variety of environments, depending on the industry they’re working for. For example, some controllers work in manufacturing facilities to ensure that production is running smoothly and efficiently. Other professionals may work in offices or other business settings where they can access important information about their company’s performance.

Plant controllers typically work in industrial settings, such as factories or processing plants. They often travel between different locations to monitor operations and make sure that each location is operating at peak efficiency.


Both plant controllers and controllers use accounting skills to track and report on the financial performance of their organization. They also both need to have excellent analytical skills to be able to identify trends and issues within the data.

However, there are some key differences in the skills that each position requires. Plant controllers need to have a strong understanding of manufacturing processes and how they impact the financial performance of the plant. They also need to be able to effectively manage and motivate teams of employees. Controllers, on the other hand, typically work in corporate environments and need to be able to understand and navigate the complex legal and regulatory landscape of business. They also need to be excellent communicators, as they often interact with senior executives and board members.


The average salary for a plant controller is $107,092 per year, while the average salary for a controller is $127,160 per year. The salary for both positions may vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the employee has.


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