A Financial Controller is a very senior position within an accountancy company. They oversee the finance department for a company and ensure that day-to-day, everything runs smoothly. The main role of a Financial Controller is to conduct general accounting oversight, and to manage transactions. However, a Financial Controller can be expected to carry out a range of responsibilities such as, but not limited to:
- Creating Internal Policy
- Ensuring Reporting is Compliant with Law and Regulations
- Managing Financial Department Staff
- Preparing and Coordinating a Budget
This is a high-level position so requires exceptional numerical and leadership skills, as well as relevant qualifications such as a degree in Mathematics, Finance, Business, or other relevant subject area, and an accredited accountancy qualification..
Through this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about being a Financial Controller, including: what a Financial Controller is, what their responsibilities are, the skills and qualifications you’ll need to become a Financial Controller, and what sort of salary you would expect to earn as a Financial Controller.
What is a Financial Controller?
A Financial Controller is a senior role within an accountancy function, who typically reports to a Finance Director or Chief Financial Officer. They oversee all of the day-to-day operations in a finance department, ensuring that accounting records are stored appropriately and reported results comply with standards and legislation. As simply as can be put, a Financial Controller is a company’s lead accountant.
What Are The Responsibilities of a Financial Controller?
As with most job types, responsibilities can vary for a Financial Controller, but there are some responsibilities they would most likely undertake.
Financial Controllers would be expected to conduct general accounting oversight for the company, likely including its monthly, quarterly, and annual financial reports. They will also manage a company’s transactions including ensuring that payment is received, setting up bank accounts, and coordinating external tax accountants.
Financial Controllers could also create internal policies and spend controls, whilst ensuring that all reporting is compliant with law and regulations. There could be an element of project management, and the improvement of accounting systems or operations. As with any senior role, a Financial Controller would need to supervise and manage financial department staff.
What Skills Does a Financial Controller Need?
As to be expected, a Financial Controller needs to have exceptional numerical skills, as well as very strong problem solving and analytical skills to be able to accurately oversee a company’s accounts. As well as this, a Financial Controller should have excellent communication skills to bind the finance team to the senior management team.
All senior roles require strong leadership skills to ensure you can get the best out of your team, as well as strong interpersonal skills to make sure you can motivate your team to perform at their best.
A Financial Controller needs to be an expert in the books, setting the standard for their team. This is because you’ll need to be able to quickly spot balance and tax issues in a ledger. On top of this, you’ll need to know where your own strengths lie, and be able to identify the best people on your team to delegate tasks to.
What Qualifications Does a Financial Controller Need?
In order to become a Financial Controller, you will need to have some specific qualifications.
You will need to have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject area to Financial Controlling such as Mathematics, Business, or Economics. As well as this, it may be beneficial for you to obtain a master’s in accounting or an accounting MBA which take around two years to complete.
Prospective financial controllers will further need to sit a Certified Public Assistant (CPA) exam to earn the CPA certification and license.
What is a Financial Controller’s Salary?
A Financial Controller is a high-level position, and so can boast very competitive salaries. As with any position, the salary you will receive is dependent on your level of experience, and the location of your job.
The average annual salary for a Financial Controller in the US ranges from between $90,000 and $110,000. However, there are some Financial Controller positions that boast a salary outside of this range – some earning over $200,000 a year.