Controller Job Description Salary, Duties, Skills, Certification & More

Controller Job Description Salary, Duties, Skills, Certification & More
Adriano Casanova

This involves monitoring cash balances, overseeing cash disbursement and collection processes, and developing strategies to optimize cash flow. You could boil down the choice between mid-level accountant and controller to one between specialization and general control. Most accountants become increasingly specialized and narrowed in their career focus over a few years, in part because that helps fuel higher salaries. Controllers can’t afford to be experts in just one area since they have to oversee entire accounting operations and offer systemic advice to their contemporaries. Often, the controller has one or two assistant controllers at their disposal. Their analysis skills and attention to detail are critical to catching any discrepancies and guaranteeing that key financial documents are correct..

  • Those assisting could have have titles such as assistant controller, accounting manager, cost accounting manager, tax manager, accounts payable manager, credit manager, payroll manager, and so on.
  • We’ll also explore earning potential, job outlook and prerequisites for this role.
  • Additionally, controllers perform key leadership and advisory functions.
  • A Finance Controller is a professional responsible for preparing a company’s financial reports, which include balance sheets and income statements.

You can’t step into a financial controller position fresh out of college. This advanced role usually comes after many years of study and work experience. Still, a controller’s high salary and increased responsibility may make the long haul worth it for ambitious accounting professionals. To become a controller, you need a robust accounting skill set, honed over years of industry experience. These professionals need a deep understanding of accounting as it relates to their industry and company profile. For example, a controller working for a healthcare organization must understand the healthcare industry’s specific tax concerns.

Some work for financial firms, but many are employed by companies to keep the organization on solid financial ground. Here’s what to know about a controller’s salary, needed skills and how to become one. The controller plays a large role in formulating company budgets and ensuring that expenses are in line with projected revenue. The job requires ensuring that the company makes accounts payable payments on time and that debt is serviced properly.

For larger public companies, controllers will often be required to have at least a CPA license. However, in some cases, even that plus a slew of experience won’t be enough. This is especially true for larger corporations with complex financial operations. Alright, it’s true that the controller job description above is incredibly vague.

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The comptroller must ensure the company complies with all applicable tax laws and regulations. This involves filing tax returns accurately and on time, conducting tax planning and analysis, and working with external tax advisors as needed. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication. To be competitive, aspiring controllers should start with a college major of accounting, economics, finance or statistics, and follow it up with an MBA or master’s of accountancy (MAcc) degree.

A Comptroller must have a deep understanding of accounting and auditing procedures. They must understand Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and other relevant legal and regulatory requirements. Comptrollers coordinate with key stakeholders to develop annual budgets. This includes revenue and expenditure forecasts to ensure resources are allocated effectively.

Their job involves handling multiple complex financial reports, performing audits, analyzing financial data, and ensuring the accuracy of financial records. FEI is a global organization that serves the needs of finance executives, including comptrollers and controllers. FEI also offers certifications, such as the Certified Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) Professional, to enhance members’ credibility and expertise. The comptroller must establish and maintain strong internal controls within the company.

While controllers may have legal requirements in some industries, such as banking, they are not as expected or widespread. They must communicate complex financial information to non-financial colleagues clearly and concisely. They must also be able to communicate financial risks and opportunities to senior leaders in a way that helps them make informed decisions. Moreover, the Controller ensures that all financial reports and statements are generated on time.

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Typically, a comptroller is a senior-level executive who reports directly to the chief financial officer (CFO) or chief executive officer (CEO). They oversee all accounting, tax compliance, risk management, and financial reporting. Comptrollers also play a crucial role in developing policies and procedures that ensure accurate record-keeping retail banking vs commercial banking and safeguarding of assets. A controller oversees an organization’s daily accounting operations, including the accounting, payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable departments. The controller also helps guide a company’s strategic financial decisions, and is therefore integral to the financial health of the firm.

Technology Skills – Important Skills of a Comptroller

Attending professional conferences and joining relevant organizations can provide opportunities to meet industry leaders and gain insight into current trends and issues in the field. Research the types of in-demand experiences companies seek in their controllers and comptrollers as you work toward obtaining one of these positions. A controller’s scope of responsibilities may vary significantly depending on the size and complexity of the organization they manage finances for. Conversely, Comptrollers typically have a defined set of duties related to government accounting and budgeting. Controllers typically report to an organization’s chief financial officer (CFO) or chief operating officer (COO), while comptrollers may report to a governor, mayor, or other elected official.

Accounting professionals who make it to the controller position enjoy above-average salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2019 the median annual income for a controller (listed as financial managers) is $129,890. However, this is just the median number, and among the 50% who make more than this, many make a lot more. Controllers at Fortune 500 companies regularly earn well into six figures and sometimes more than $250,000.

Compensation – How Is a Controller Different From a Comptroller?

A controller and comptroller simply have similar roles in different industries. Financial controllers are in charge of the past; they review historical transactions and ensure reporting is done correctly. These reports may then be delivered to a financial planning and analysis (FP&A) leader.

If you’re aiming for this role, you’ll want to research controller salaries, skills and responsibilities so you’ll be well-prepared to compete for this senior management position. Additionally, controllers play a vital role in financial planning and analysis, helping organizations allocate resources efficiently and optimize financial performance. They often collaborate with auditors, tax professionals, and regulatory authorities, ensuring the company complies with legal requirements and industry standards. Controllers require a deep understanding of accounting principles, financial regulations, and industry-specific practices.

Job brief

The requirements that must be met to obtain this certificate are different in each state in which you intend to seek employment. Controllers and comptrollers play a significant role in financial decision-making and strategy development. They analyze the financial data to identify areas of opportunity, address areas susceptible to loss, and, more importantly, help lay the foundations of financial stability and growth. The controller is responsible for preparing financial documents and reports for external audits. This involves working closely with auditors to ensure the accuracy and completeness of financial data. The controller plays a critical role in managing the company’s cash flow.

Applicants need to have a significant amount of prior experience in accounting, financial reporting, and tax-related issues to be considered for a financial controller role. Every controller job is unique, but there are universal skills and qualifications that any serious candidate should possess. Most openings also require a master’s of business administration (MBA) or a certified public accountant (CPA) designation, or both. At larger companies the controller may be assisted by other accountants. Those assisting could have have titles such as assistant controller, accounting manager, cost accounting manager, tax manager, accounts payable manager, credit manager, payroll manager, and so on. These managers may then be supervising accountants and accounting clerks.