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Financial Controller

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance
Average Salary: $100,000
Job Outlook: Good

Job Description

Financial controller’s jobs can be found in just about every large firm and government agency, with many organizations needing to employ more than one. It is the job of the financial controller to prepare the financial reports which includes balance sheets, income statements, and an analysis of future earnings and expenses. In short they summarize and forecast the current and future position of the company.

Controllers are often called upon to prepare special reports for the governing regulatory bodies, and will often oversee the audit, accounting and budget departments. Anyone becoming a financial controller usually has a considerable number of years’ experience in financial accounting. They must be excellent communicators and need strong software knowledge and experience. They also need to be the kind of person who pays great attention to detail. As financial controllers usually have a number of staff, they need to have strong supervisory skills.

The regulations within the industry can change quite quickly, and is essential that a financial controller is current with anything that may affect the company. In addition they must be knowledgeable about any compliance issues and company procedures.

Education and Training Requirements

The minimum qualification for a financial controller is a bachelor’s degree, but many also have a master’s degree, or professional certification such as a CPA license. However this isn’t true for all positions, as some organizations such as banks value experience over formal education.

Getting the Job

An accounting degree is essential for applying to any of the larger organizations, and a CPA license and public accounting experience are often preferred. However anybody working in a small organization may be promoted through the ranks, as its essential that the controller has a good grasp of not only accounting principles but also the way the firm works. It is a position that requires considerable experience, and is not a job that can be applied for by someone who is newly qualified.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Job prospects for financial controllers are good, as they are necessary for just about every organization, but competition for the top jobs can be extremely stiff. A financial controller is essentially a key position in an organization, and may eventually evolve into other opportunities such as Chief Executive Officer, vice president of operations, and some even go on to become president of the company.

Working Conditions and Environment

Typical working hours can be very according to the industry and size of company, and it wouldn’t be unusual for a financial controller to work extra hours during the month end close. This requires the month to be accounted for right down to the last cent. Year-end close can also require extra hours. Working conditions are likely to be good, as financial controllers are office based and this is a management position.

Salary and Benefits

The typical salary of a financial controller can vary according to the size of the company. An average salary can be anything between $100,000 and $220,000, although smaller companies may pay between $60,000 and $90,000. Those working for the larger companies can expect considerable bonuses, but all financial controllers should get paid vacations and sick leave, and a benefits package.

Where to Go for More Information

American Bankers Association
1120 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036.
(800) 226-5377

Association for Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business
10 Paragon Dr., Ste. 1
Montvale, NJ 07645-1760
(201) 573-9000

Association for Financial Professionals
4520 East-West Highway, Ste. 750
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 907-2862

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesAccounting & Finance