The Controller’s Career Path and Qualifications
However, many jobs also require a more advanced degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA). The standard route starts with four years of undergraduate education with an emphasis in finance or accounting followed by an MBA. Work at a Big Four firm, and possibly a stint as a government auditor or senior-level accounting work, can lead to an assistant controller position.
- But the challenge is maintaining a balance, especially when circumstances tip the scales to favor traditional tasks.
- A controller thoroughly understands accounting software and will know what’s best for your business.
- The controller must stay apprised of all the local, state and federal tax laws and business regulations that affect their company, and they must ensure that the company operates within the proper parameters.
- A controller usually needs to have at least some sort of higher education as well.
- At most companies, these duties are delegated to employees, such as an accounts payable manager, who reports to the controller, but the buck stops with the controller.
Meanwhile, even the smallest companies require careful and methodical accounting to track their financial status and ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations. A lot of factors influence what controller duties look like, including the size of the company, the organization’s industry, how many employees are in the accounting or finance departments, and more. Candidates for controller jobs should have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business, but preferably an MBA.
Share your open role with qualified controllers using the world’s largest professional network. Nobody gets a controller job right out of college, and it can take many years of dedicated work to earn the title. Brenna Swanston is an education-focused capital budgeting editor and writer with a particular interest in education equity and alternative educational paths. As a newswriter in her early career, Brenna’s education reporting earned national awards and state-level accolades in California and North Carolina.
How is the Controller Function Affected by Digitalisation?
Her mortgage expertise was honed post-2008 crisis as she implemented the significant changes resulting from Dodd-Frank required regulations. Controllers can also benefit from earning a Certified Management Accountant (CMA)® or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)® title. To qualify for the CMA, applicants need either a bachelor’s degree or one of several finance certifications, plus at least two years’ experience in the field. CFA candidates need a bachelor’s degree or professional experience. While controllers often work under CFOs, especially at large companies, a comptroller position is equivalent to a CFO role in terms of seniority.
- Smaller organizations often combine the roles of controller and CFO.
- The master’s degree is more than an educational credential; it also fulfills the educational requirement to sit for the CPA exam, something an aspiring controller should have on their resume.
- Financial controllers typically manage their organizations’ budget, audit and accounting departments, making them high-level financial managers.
Unless you’ve already headed down the path, the controller duties might be a bit of a mystery. The controller manages monthly, quarterly, and annual financial accounts. Controllers manage payables, receivables, payroll, controls, and interdepartmental communications. She worked for almost two decades as an executive, leading multi-billion dollar mortgage, credit card, and savings portfolios with operations worldwide and a unique focus on the consumer.
Required skills and qualifications
At a smaller company or when you first accept a controller job, you could come in near the bottom 10 percent of earners, putting you closer to the $68,000 mark. As a result, having a few can strengthen your position, increasing the odds you’ll land an interview and, potentially, the job. However, in some cases, even that plus a slew of experience won’t be enough. Some companies view a Master’s degree as being an appropriate minimum. This is especially true for larger corporations with complex financial operations. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities.
Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting. Please see /about to learn more about our global network of member firms. A company’s controller is considered to be the chief accounting officer and the head of the accounting department. Use this guide as a resource to help you determine when your small business is ready for a controller. Alternatively, consider an outsourced bookkeeping service to assist with the abovementioned responsibilities. The bookkeeping department will become a top priority as your small business scales.
Career Path of Corporate Controllers
Staff management duties are often part of the controller’s job, too. And, in some companies, a controller may be the only accountant in the organization. Most assistant controllers come from auditing or cost control backgrounds, and many already have CPA certifications. Most assistant controllers need to demonstrate strong competency in the use of financial management software. Controllers work alongside or directly under an organization’s chief financial officer (CFO), providing key financial information with an eye on future performance and goals. While the traditional role of an accountant is to show historical information reliably, the role of a controller is to anticipate and highlight issues and opportunities ahead.
As the leader of the accounting team, a financial controller is in charge of closely monitoring a company’s financial health. They typically maintain, manage, and analyze financial statements, payroll, budgets, tax compliance issues, and more. These financial experts work across a broad spectrum of industries.
These plans may rotate on a quarterly basis if the company decides to reforecast any projections. If you just launched a startup, then a controller won’t be of the utmost importance. If your entire company is just five or six people, then a financial controller on your executive team probably isn’t warranted. As a small business owner, there’s a good chance that you’ve been handling a large portion of your company’s accounting operations and bookkeeping tasks.
A Dedicated Controller will Implement Bookkeeping Policies
Most companies hire CFOs from outside of the corporation; individuals that already have experience as a CFO. Types of Controllers
Controllers can be found in various sectors and industries, each having specific job titles and responsibilities tailored to their organizational context. Controllers are pivotal figures within a company’s financial structure, ensuring financial integrity, transparency, and the long-term stability of the organization.
Business Control is usually led by a CFO, Head of Business Control, or a Head of Controlling. A controller almost always has a degree in economics from a college or university, and the same applies to those working as Business Controllers (sometimes also referred to as Operational Controllers). Once you have the education you need and develop the right skills, there’s still a hurdle in your way.
Given their important role in managing an organization’s finances, corporate controllers are typically well compensated. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which classifies corporate controllers as financial managers, reports that the median annual salary for these professionals was $131,710 in 2021. Controllers oversee the preparation of their organizations’ financial reports.
Most openings also require a master’s of business administration (MBA) or a certified public accountant (CPA) designation, or both. Both roles prepare financial reports, manage taxes and track financial data. Controllers also oversee accounting staff and play a more active part in their companies’ financial planning. After building managerial expertise in the field, experienced accountants can qualify to become assistant controllers. Smaller organizations often combine the roles of controller and CFO. While large companies have more robust accounting departments, at a smaller company, the controller may be the only accountant on staff.
You won’t have to worry about these tasks with a small business controller. They formally close the accounting period, post adjustments to the balance sheet and generate financial statements. A controller can inform you of any potential bookkeeping issues before they get out of hand.