Are you looking for a flourishing career in finance? If yes, consider becoming a controller. Here are some guidelines on how to become a controller.

How To Become A Controller

If you are a student of finance or just wondering what can be a lucrative career option in finance, then consider becoming a financial controller. The main role of a controller is to supervise a company’s financial status and control expenditure. As is obvious, controllers have access to all corporate funds. They are even responsible for preparing financial reports, analyzing, interpreting and translating complex financial data into simple and clear language. In a nutshell, the key responsibility of a controller is to make financial budgets and control all the financial transactions of an organization. The post of a controller is not an entry level job rather, is often the top financial position in a company or next only to the ‘Chief Financial Officer’ (CFO) of an organization. Thus, to become a controller, apart from having a degree in finance or accounting, you should also have at least three years or work experience in corporate finance. If you are fascinated by this job proposition, then here is some quick information for your aid.
Becoming A Controller
The post of a controller is very critical and higher up in the hierarchy of the corporate business world. A strong academic background lays the foundation to becoming a financial controller. A Bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting is the basic requirement however, an MBA in finance is preferred by most employers. The post of a controller is at a senior level so, if you wish to become a controller, you need to spend a few years working as an accountant or auditor in a finance company. This can help you in strengthening your credentials. Aim to become an assistant finance controller or finance director in a midsized company within five years of your academic career completion and then aim for the top position.
The following courses can help you augment your profile and make you highly desirable for all the recruiters.
  • Masters in Business Administration
  • Certificate courses in Accounting and Auditing
  • Master Degree in Finance
  • Masters degree in Accounting
Skills Required
  • Attention to detail.
  • Thorough knowledge of the company’s financial position.
  • Composure and ability to maintain coolness under pressure.
  • Willingness to work for long hours, if necessary.
  • Dedication, concentration and hard as well as smart work.
  • Good analysis skills to read and understand financial reports.
  • Ability to understand and interpret complex financial matters clearly and concisely in plain language.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Mathematical skills.
  • Proficiency with finance software and other related applications.
  • Attention to detail and the ability to detect even the minutest of errors.
  • Ability to make the distinction between relevant and irrelevant expenditure and the sturdiness to take and implement tough decisions.
Roles and Responsibilities
  • The key responsibility of a financial controller is to “control” the finances of a company. A controller has to prepare the annual budget for a company which lists down the expected incomes and expenditure of the organization.
  • A controller controls access to the company’s funds. In some organizations, the controller also has to approve all sorts of expenditures of the company.
  • Controllers are also responsible for preparing reports and analysing crucial financial reports of the company.
  • Apart from keeping a track of company’s financial expenditure and revenue-earning, a controller also has to work closely with the marketing professionals of the company to set prices for the company’s products and/or services.
  • In certain cases, a controller may also have to shoulder some additional responsibilities like market research, product management and development, planning financial corporate strategies, business forecasting, as well as, general data analysis.
Career Prospect
There is a huge potential for growth for finance controllers. As mentioned above, this is a critical and senior executive post. Therefore, one can expect lucrative remuneration as well as other perks and benefits. The job of a controller is very demanding as the controller has to maintain an in-depth knowledge of the company’s financial status. An experience of substantial years and exposure and relevant skills can also help a controller become the ‘Chief Financial Officer’ or CFO of an organisation in the long run. This just means more responsibilities, more critical roles and, of course, an even better salary.

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