Due to the industry’s size, complexity, and nature, controller roles differ throughout businesses. Larger organizations are able to divide the following duties among various personnel, including the chief financial officer and treasurer, however smaller businesses require the controller to be more adaptable.
A controller position is in high demand right now across all industries and in organizations of all sizes. Let’s check out the basics:
What is a Controller?
A controller is a person who oversees all accounting-related tasks within a business, including high-level accounting, managerial accounting, and finance tasks. In other words, the controller’s responsibilities include supervising financial reporting, creating operating budgets, and carrying out crucial payroll-related tasks.
Among all their responsibilities, a controller spends most of their time gathering, analyzing, and consolidating financial data. The controller position examines variations, summarizes trends, and looks into budget deficits even though the controller does not always maintain them. The controller may notify top management of significant budgeting or expenditure deviations.
Controller Job Responsibilities
The controller is in charge of a company’s accounting activities. Typically, a senior role like this calls for years of solid expertise in several levels of accounting.
The responsibilities of a controller are extremely diverse. In smaller businesses, the controller typically has additional responsibilities. In fact, the controller frequently has the final word in every financial decision a small business makes, including budgeting, reporting, investing, and risk management. On the other half, the controller’s responsibilities in larger businesses are frequently more specialized, and some financial decisions are transferred to other executives, including the chief financial officer (CFO).
A controller’s salary is above the national average for accounting professionals. A controller’s median annual salary is $103,840 as of December 2022, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (included under financial managers).
However, this is only the median income; among the 50% that earn more, many earn significantly more. At Fortune 500 organizations, controllers frequently make well into the six figures and occasionally even more than $250,000. Furthermore, the benefit of working for a small organization is that high-ranking personnel, like controllers, frequently participate in the business’s expansion.
Trends in Controller Salaries
The role of controller is one of the hottest positions in accounting and finance, according to the 2022 Robert Half Salary Guide. In addition, this report projects that between 2018 and 2028, demand for analysts will rise by 16%.
Remember that many firms also give bonuses and other rewards to controllers and other accounting and financial professionals. You might therefore be paid more than the average national wage for controllers, depending on the company you apply to and trends in your local labor market.
Want to remain competitive? Check out all the requirements for applying to a controllers job position:
A competent controller needs to possess the same abilities as a good accountant, including great numerical aptitude, organization, good problem-solving abilities, and superior logic. Furthermore, a controller needs to be a strong leader with a big-picture perspective because a significant portion of the job entails assigning tasks to subordinates and then combining their efforts to reach judgments.
Typically, people do not start out as controllers. To obtain this position, one must be willing to climb the corporate ladder, frequently beginning with positions like entry-level accounting or auditing.
Controller’s Career Path
To become a successful controller in your business, you need to keep an eye on these questions:
What are the steps to becoming a financial controller?
Start with a degree in accounting or finance and consider adding an MBA if you want to become a controller. Next, gain years of experience working as an auditor or accountant. Finally, serve as an assistant controller, preferably longer than two years.
What kind of career can a controller expect?
The next stage in your career after becoming a controller could be taking on the same responsibilities at a bigger company or a new sector, applying for a group finance director post, or switching to operational finance. With sufficient preparation, it might even result in CFO.
Can a controller advance to CFO status?
Yes, but advancing is not easy. Experience in operations is required to have the best chance. The same may be said for refined teamwork and communication abilities. Having empathy also makes it easier to accept uncertainty and take chances.
In conclusion, Controllers develop and evaluate financial data. Their proactive mindset sets them apart from traditional accountants. Most accountants keep track of and record current financial information as well as examine and analyze prior performance, but they rarely contribute to the company’s long-term strategy. Regardless, all of this is achievable and better if you are already involved in this career path. Are you looking to take your accounting career to the next level? Contact one of our recruiters today!
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