what is a finance controller?

As a finance controller, you oversee your organisation's finance team or teams. You oversee the budget-setting process and assist various departments in the organisation with maintaining their budgets and general financial planning. To meet these needs, you utilise your experience with accounting software and practices. You also perform a supervisory role for the accounting team.

One of your core responsibilities as finance controller is to ensure your organisation's financial stability, both in the present and future. You will be decisive and prepared to make important decisions regarding your organisation's financial strategies, with cost reduction and opportunity growth being high on your list of goals.

Your role as a finance controller could take you to any number of industries in both the public and private sectors. This is because organisations of all kinds are in need of this role, which is largely independent of the nature of the business. That means you can transfer your skills and experience to other industries without needing to retrain for that industry specifically. However, the size of the organisation you work for can affect your role.

Would working as a finance controller suit your strong organisational and critical thinking skills? If so, read on to learn more about this role, including the competencies and educational requirements needed.

finance controller roles

average salary of a finance controller

According to Payscale on average, finance controllers in India earn around ₹19,16,800 per year. This number falls quite centrally in the pay range for this profession. Entry-level finance controller positions can expect to make upwards of ₹590,000 per year. Conversely, the most experienced and successful finance controllers in the country can earn as much as ₹40,00,000 per year.

factors that affect finance controller's pay

Possibly the single most significant factor determining your potential pay as a finance controller is experience. It is unlikely that you will be hired into this role straight out of education, and you need to get some relevant experience working in accounting first. Finance controllers with more experience are likely to command a larger salary.

Location is also a factor in your compensation package. The difference between finance controller pay in New Delhi, Delhi and Bengaluru, Karnataka, is, on average, around ₹8,00,000 per year.

finance controller roles
finance controller roles

types of finance controller

The role of the finance controller can be broken into four main aspects, which are as follows:

  • operators: as an operator, you oversee the accountancy operation in your organisation, ensuring it remains effective and efficient. That means you oversee the accounting process and ensure that everything is accurate and up to date.
  • strategist: strategic finance controllers work with the executive team with the shared goal of driving company growth. In this role, you will help with the development of business strategies to achieve that growth.
  • stewards: as the name suggests, a finance controller steward's main role is to protect the company's resources. You provide accurate reports on the company's financial position while managing risks and preserving the organisation's assets.
  • catalysts: in the role of a catalyst, you provide the relevant information at the appropriate time to stakeholders and assist them in the decision-making process.

working as a finance controller

Finance controllers work with their organisation's finance and accounting teams to ensure smooth administrative functions and robust finance control. This role can be broken into more specific duties, which we will take a look at below.


education and skills

Unlike some jobs, it is not possible in most cases to get hired as a finance controller straight out of education. The typical path for this role is to become an accountant first, which will require a bachelor of accounting degree or similar. The next step is to become a Chartered Accountant or a Certified Practising Accountant.

Once you have gained experience working as an accountant, you will be in a good position to apply for a role as a finance controller. The more experience you have, the better. It can also be beneficial to pursue postgraduate education in business administration or finance.

skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a finance controller include:

  • communication: excellent communication skills are needed for both relaying information to your accounting teams and reporting to senior management.
  • computing: a large portion of your work will be done using computers and the various technologies that are the primary tools of your trade. You will be adept at using database software, spreadsheet applications, accounting software, and more.
  • leadership: strong leadership skills enable you to keep your accounting teams on track and motivate your team members to optimise their performance. Leadership skills will also serve you well if you intend to move on to a more senior role in the future, such as CFO.
  • analytical skills: strong analytical skills are essential to a good finance controller. From accounting data to internal audits and investment analysis to risk management, you use your analytical skills throughout your duties.

FAQs about working as a finance controller

FAQs about working as a finance controller:

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