A finance controller, also known as a finance manager or comptroller, typically has an accounting or finance background and supervises the accounting and financial reporting of a company or organization. The duties performed in financial controller jobs vary by title. Whether the individual is employed by a private company, government entity, or non-profit organization may also influence the underlying job description. Finance controller jobs usually require a university education and post-graduate certifications.
The job of finance controller typically involves overseeing the creation of balance sheets, income statements, and expense reports. Governments and companies use these reports to gain a better understanding of their current financial position and to forecast future revenues, profits, and losses. Public and private companies also depend on financial controllers to prepare regulatory reports that are submitted to the tax departments of national, state, or municipal governments. These reports are also submitted to the shareholders of publicly traded companies; inaccuracies in these reports have serious legal ramifications because investors depend on the figures contained in such statements.
Another common aspect of financial controller jobs involves establishing budgets for individual departments within a corporation or government. This position is commonly referred to as Treasurer. These budgets ensure that the company or government agency do not have expenditures that exceed revenues. People employed in these types of financial controller jobs may also be responsible for cutting budgets, this is often done to save money or to allow a company to continue operations without laying off or firing employees. Treasurers may also be responsible for finding profitable investments or raising capital for a company.
Within each industry, financial controller jobs may require further expertise or specialization. A finance manager at a fledgling company may need to be adept at generating capital. Government comptrollers may need experience in the government sector they work in: financial controller jobs in the military, for example, may require prior military experience.
People interested in financial controller careers should have a background in finance or business. Financial controller jobs usually require a bachelor’s degree in accounting, economics, or finance, and more competitive firms may also require candidates to have a master’s degree in finance or business administration. Some governments also require people working in financial controller jobs to pass aptitude tests and be nationally certified. The typical comptroller should also expect to work longer hours than the average employee, as many work up to 50 or 60 hours a week.