What is a financial controller?

Banking & Finance

Do you have an interest in the finance department from your career prospectus? Many expensive and respected profiles are found in the finance field such as CFO, CAO, and the easiest one is a financial controller. If you want to work under officers to build a career and gain advanced knowledge, you can start as a financial controller. A financial controller also leads a team of junior employees who work in the accounting department. A group of accounting professionals works together to take out better accounting results in every financial year. It is a more heavy profile that requires the most responsible candidate or person to manage financial operations with their gained or achieved skills.

What do you understand about the financial controller’ designation?

The designation is simply defined with its name as who controls financial activities. A person who handles multiple activities in the accounting department with his/her seniors to give proper control to the juniors is known as a financial controller. Controllers are found everywhere whether it is a small or big place, control needs to exist in the atmosphere to run the business operations. Controllers work according to the environment and take out a burden of accounting activities on their heads to perform with accuracy and honesty.

Basically, they are responsible to find the history of accounting and finance to make present and future financial history by overseeing the daily financial operations and its evidence like accounting books that includes a ledger, statements, bookkeeping records, and many more. All records define the company’s actual financial status and accounting tasks that the employees achieved during the year or previous years. They are eligible to use technologies to scan the accounting functions from one place, here technologies mean accounting and financial software that are used to prepare and check accounting books of a company from one place. The software allows controllers to run their financial projects with other companies or seniors for continuing the controlling process. Control is required in every organization so that employees cannot divert into other things or cannot cheat the company.

Who are financial controllers?

Controllers are found in every field such as accounting, financial, human resources, sales, marketing, and others. They have their own identity that leads the whole organization based on their skills, experience, and identity definer proof.

But if we talk about financial controllers, they perform as financial supporters who balance the organization with officers and managers by preparing strategies and tasks for maintaining the accounting books. They think very practical and use accounting technologies to always stay their company on the top of the industry. With the help of policies and regulations of the company, controllers carry out financial data for verifying, analyzing, correcting, and executing prospectus. They are one of the most trustable financial owners to whom seniors give the authority to make related decisions and seniors take decisions based on their final records for the whole financial department.

What kind of relationship is between a Financial controller and a Financial officer?

There is a junior-senior level relation in between both. The relationship is very important between financial controllers and financial officers, they can’t lie in the same position but they have similar responsibilities under the roof of an organization. Both have an ownership to control the organization’s financial environment which is quite difficult to handle at some times, they supervise their team about how the company can expand by performing financial activities along with maintaining the company’s records. Both are hired for profit organizations or private organizations.

Existence level:

Financial controllers are lower profile than financial officers, officers are the seniors of controllers, they guide them how to perform with junior accountants on accounting books daily, and how to collect financial details for corrections and rectification.


The controller must check the accounting and financial books with their team by using all resources and controlling their team based on work. The officers must provide tips to controllers for facing and solving the accounting errors by using resources and taking help from financial analysts. They have big ownership to give orders to controllers for making error-free financial statements.

Work on the same project

Both work on the same project ie. financial books. Both have the motive to prepare financial statements by using internal and external resources as well as taking help from financial markets, analysts, mergers, and acquisitions. Their existence is all about putting accuracy and reliability in organization books but performing different activities in the financial department. They sit and discuss together all financial matters such as budgeting, investing, spending, savings, payroll, insurance, taxes, etc but the end decision is taken only by financial officers.

CPA qualified

Both are qualified with a CPA course that defines their experience, skills, and education which can be definable. To become a financial officer, many other accounting courses are done but CPA ( Certified Public Accountant) is the most common education that both should have.

What are the two types of a financial controller?

The two types of financial controllers are the internal financial controller and external financial controller. Both controllers have one major difference that we describe below.

  • Internal financial controllers: are the controllers who operate the activities only for their own company where they work as an employee, they are hired for a permanent role.
  • External financial controllers: are the controllers who operate the activities for many organizations at the same period or year, they are hired for a contractual role.

This is only the major difference, no other differences are found because both have the same profile and designation, both have to handle their company’s financial statement by using their skills and experiences and for this, they get rewards and higher positions in the same field. Both offer full support to their executives in making the right financial statements so that officers can make fair decisions to achieve desired goals.

What is the mission of financial controllers?

The mission of financial controllers is to provide general accounting services to the owners to make fair decisions. And for this, they start from the verifying process to the closing process in which accounting books are closed at the end of the year by saving a lot of time and cost. Along with closing books, they perform other roles also such as budgeting, savings, spending, researching, reporting, payroll, banking, leading, taxing, and others.

The toughest role they perform is to borrow the debts for the company with the consent of financial officers and also responsible for the debt collection process. They have a full workload as officers but can’t be considered as an officer.

Process to become a financial Controller?

Not really hard to become a financial Controller if you follow the below process with honesty and patience. This profile is counted as a reputed designation in the US. Companies for faster growth. If you want to be hired as a financial controller by the owner of a big organization, you have to follow this process. The process is:

Get a bachelor degree in the accounting or financing field

First, you have to earn a bachelor’s degree with a good score percentage in accounting, finance, and other commercial fields. Once you have achieved your degree, then you have to move towards finding the best course for post-graduation or masters in the same field to reach the path of a major accounting course. After completing the master’s, you will be eligible for qualifying a CPA.

Go through a CPA course

You can pursue a CPA course while doing a master’s from a reputed university or you can do it after a master’s but a PG degree is required to apply in a reputed organization to build a career in the finance department. When you complete a CPA, you are eligible for applying as a financial controller from a manager’s role, and after taking the experience of so many years, you can be promoted by a company for an officer role.

Gain some relevant experience

After getting a degree and while doing CPA, you should apply in accounting field roles such as public accounting, cost accounting, budgeting, accounting managers, accounting assistant, junior accountant to gain some positive experience that can be counted in plus points. Work experience is required in the same field where you want to grow in the upcoming years.

Acquire a license

Once you become a CPA, you will get a legal license to run your profile as a financial controller in a big organization, and easily you can get a job where you want. Continuing with a professional license is a golden opportunity for candidates that will stand their career on a growing platform.

What qualities should have in financial controllers?

Qualified skills: A financial controller must be qualified in the accounting field and have done valuable accounting courses such as CPA, CMA, CFA, or CFC.

Experience in the same industry: A financial controller must have some experience in the same industry, at least 9-10 years experience is required to get this position. A relevant work experience is a golden ticket for a candidate who goes for an interview because sometimes experience also matters more than skills.

Good communicator: A financial controller must have a good communicator because their work is also to collaborate with seniors, managers to make decisions, and maintain financial statements, and discuss future-related issues. It can be difficult if a candidate does not have good communicating skills to put their thoughts in front of officers and managers.

Good accounting skills: If financial controllers have good accounting skills, they can crack accounting questions that would ask by the questioner in the interview and are also eligible to prepare financial statements such as balance sheet, cash flow statement, profit and loss statement, income statements on time through accounting policies and tools for maintaining the internal control.

Good leadership: A financial controller should have leadership quality if want to get this position because the controller has to maintain financial statements along with balancing with team workers at the same time and on the same platform. Behave kindly and apply strictness sometimes to be in this position.

Auditing skills: A controller should have auditing skills because sometimes a situation comes when they need to perform as auditor to check and verify financial reports to make new decisions.

Eligible to handle accounting tools: In growing industries, the use of technologies is expanding more and more. Controllers use tools that companies have, to manage all tasks from one place such as budgeting, reporting, payroll, taxing, decision-making, banking, and others. Should have the ability to work on tools very effectively and also handle troubleshoot errors.

Relationship skills: A controller should have relationship skills to maintain relations with shareholders, investors (internal and external), financial officers, clients, managers, competitors, creditors, and teams.

Decision-making skills: Taking decision skills is an essential part of an organization in which financial controllers can’t spend more time, quick-making skills should have in controllers. Controllers have a responsibility to take multiple decisions like:

  • Decision-related to finance
  • Decision-related to buying company’s books
  • Decision-related to team
  • Decision-related to individual
  • Decision-related to invest
  • Decision-related to resources in accounting
  • Decision-related for taking debts and offering a debts

Researching skills: Should have researching skills according to advanced technologies. Continuing research on the internet about how to maintain financial records without any errors is the best idea to grow your financial growth also. Social media platforms are the best where you find an experienced financial controller for sharing and gaining knowledge.

Friendly: Controllers should be friendly with their team as a leader sometimes to make the team feel comfortable. They have a responsibility to make the environment friendly by the way of talking and sharing guidance with each candidate of a team. Always have a positive behavior for their seniors and juniors and give respect too.

Main tasks performed by a financial controller (duties or responsibilities)

The main tasks performed by a financial controller are:

  • A primary task is to research the best financing techniques to improve the finance department.
  • Responsibility to close accounting books at the end of the year by removing errors.
  • Work with internal and external analysts to prepare financial records under control.
  • They have the burden of filing state and federal taxes and monitoring accountants to avoid risks.
  • Sometimes, they also perform as auditors and with auditors to verify financial records.
  • They provide prepared financial records to make decisions.
  • They follow the daily activities of juniors for comparison and analyze how they are performing.
  • With the tools, controllers can measure the actual performance of the company by correcting all issues in financial entries such as expense, revenue, debts, invoices, etc.
  • Collaborate with seniors like CFO, CAO to perform several activities such as decision making, budgeting, taxation, reporting, etc.
  • Control on investing large funds in non-profitable activities.

What is the salary of financial controllers?

A salary mainly depends on the company’s financial value. If a company’s financial value is good, the financial controller can get a higher salary but if the company’s financial controller is average and it is considered a small private company, the financial controller can get a lower salary than big companies. The normal salary offered is mainly $80,000 to $500,000. This designation is counted as a senior position under accounting but not as financial officers.