what is a controller?

Controllers are senior-level executives who work as heads of accounting in companies. They oversee the preparation of financial reports, including income statements and balance sheets. They are also responsible for ensuring accurate ledgers and eliminating any accounting mistakes. Banks, government agencies and large corporations employ controllers.

As a financial controller, you work closely with an organisation's budget, audit, accounting and other accounts-related departments. You are responsible for producing the reports that determine the company's financial outlook over time. You ensure the accurate and timely completion of monthly financial statements. Controllers are also in charge of submitting paperwork to statutory regulatory authorities. This record-keeping promotes honesty, efficiency and accuracy within the company. Companies expect controllers to improve processes within each team and meet reporting deadlines efficiently.

As a controller, you may also be responsible for staff management. In smaller companies, you may be the only accountant. You report directly to the president or board of directors to offer insight and provide recommendations for managing the company's finances. When identifying trends for budgeting and forecasting purposes, you express ideas in terms that everyone can understand.

People with analytical mindsets are most likely to succeed in the position. To be a good controller, you will be motivated and flexible in your approach to learning. Your role may also have an IT component and include business development. Your ability to thrive in this challenging role will be reflected by how well you respond to unexpected changes and expectations within the company.

Would working as a controller suit your financial and business acumen? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a controller role.

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average salary of a controller

According to Payscale, the average annual salary for a financial controller in India is ₹1934034 and the average salary for a corporate controller in India is ₹1350000. Your compensation package usually includes some allowances and non-monetary benefits. Some companies also offer annual bonuses.

how to increase a controller’s salary

Your compensation package as a controller depends on your experience and the company’s size. When you have extensive experience, you can command a higher salary to match the skills and expertise you bring to your employer. Your qualifications are also relevant when negotiating your salary. When you have extra certifications or a master's degree, you will probably earn more than controllers with an undergraduate degree.

When you work in a small company, you have lower salary prospects due to your employer’s limited resources. In addition, your duties may not be as complex in a company with a simple financial management policy. In large organisations, your compensation package reflects your increased specialisation and the complexity of the financial data you work with.

controller jobs
controller jobs

types of controllers

Some types of controllers include:

  • finance controller: as a financial controller, you lead a team of accountants overseeing day-to-day financial operations. Your job is to supervise accounting functions and you are in charge of the company's records and books. Apart from analysing the accounting records, you need to understand your company’s business operations to provide accurate analysis that supports strategic business decisions.
  • credit controller: as a credit controller, you analyse the company's available credit and assess its business debts. You manage credit assessments, develop payment plans and keep accurate financial records and repayment terms for each creditor. You also ensure the company receives money from its creditors on time.

working as a controller

Working as a controller involves looking at the bigger picture of the company's financial resources and assisting the management with financial strategy. Let's explore the specific duties and tasks of a controller.


education and skills

Some of the key steps for becoming a controller include:

  • a relevant degree: a bachelor's degree in finance, business administration or accounting is essential for becoming a controller. Your degree equips you with the skills you need to perform various accounting functions. Some employers also require a master's degree since you will be working at a senior level in the company.
  • work experience: controllers have over five years of experience in financial roles. To build your skills, you can gain experience through entry-level accounting and assistant controller roles.
  • licences and certifications: as a controller, you fulfil the requirements of professional bodies to gain a certification as a Chartered Accountant, Certified Public Accountant or a Certified Financial Analyst. After acquiring your licence, you must keep it in good standing.

skills and competencies

Some of the qualities that will help you excel as a controller include:

  • financial acumen: a good controller needs strong financial acumen to interpret and analyse the financial data of a company. Financial understanding helps you to evaluate a company's financial health and assess its investment risks.
  • problem-solving skills: as a controller, you manage any issues that arise while preparing accounting information. With your problem-solving skills, you can anticipate risks and find ways to mitigate problems before they escalate. You also assist with process optimisation to drive efficiency and save costs.
  • team management and leadership skills: as a controller leading a large team of accounting and finance experts, it is essential to command respect and inspire your team. With good team management skills, you improve internal efficiency since all employees perform optimally.

FAQs about working as a controller

FAQs about working as a controller:

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