Financial Controller: Functions, Skills, Salary, Qualifications (detailed guide)

A financial controller is important in any organization for its growth and effective operations.

Financial controllers are usually in charge of managing accounting duties, monitoring internal controls, banking and finance activities, etc.

In this blog post, we’re going to explain who a financial controller is, the skill he/she must possess, qualifications and job descriptions.

If you’ve considered searching for a job in this field, then this post is for you.

Let’s dive in!

Financial controller

A financial controller is the lead accounting executive in a company.

His duties can vary in an organization, depending on the complexity of accounting and financial operations alongside the number of people employed in the accounting department.

A financial controller carries out a lot of duties in an organization.

He works directly with the management team to effectively run the business.

His major roles include dealing with finance, accounting, production, marketing, and personnel operations.

It is his or her duty to ensure that the business is profitable and there are proper internal controls by providing and interpreting the financial information that the company’s output is yielding.

A financial comptroller usually reports directly to a company’s CFO – Chief Financial Officer, on equal footing with managers and finance directors.

He or She can otherwise be called a Comptroller.

See also: FINANCIAL INCLUSION: Overview, Importance, Objectives, Examples (+ Free PDFs)

Financial controller job description

To fully understand the roles a financial controller performs in an organization, we’ll need to take a look at the list of a financial controller’s job description

1.In-depth financial analysis

He or she must be skilled at in-depth financial analysis and also be able to provide expert financial opinions.

These skills are necessary in assessing risks, analyzing efficiency and informing policy decisions made by the executive management.

2. They are responsible for all banking and finance activities

A comptroller reviews financial contracts, agreement and insurance policies.

They negotiate lines of credit and vendor agreement.

In addition, they are also responsible for managing account operations, publishing financial statements, monitoring expenditure, forecasting revenue, and ensuring accuracy of financial information.

3. They maintain the company bank balance and remain vigilant of outstanding checks.

4. They approve invoices that need to be paid.

5. They prepare monthly sales and use tax returns.

A financial controller works with the executive management to coordinate all financial planning functions with business operations.

Majorly, they prepare financial statements, cash flow reports, budget-to-actual and financial projections.

In addition, he or she must possess strong analytical skills, exceptional problem-solving skills, and a flair for numbers, organizational skills, and excellent leadership skills, to be employable.

Financial controller qualifications

You will need to match a list of qualifications if financial controllership is a future career choice for you. The qualifications include:

1. A bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or economics.

2. An MBA (in finance or accounting preferred)

3. A minimum of seven years of combined accounting and finance experience

4. A minimum of two years experience as a team manager or assistant controller

5. Proficiency with spreadsheets

6. Experience with enterprise-level financial management software systems

7. Decision making, problem resolutions, creative thinking skills, an eye for numbers.

8. Attention to detail

9. Able to work well with senior executives and team, as well as mentor/lead other team members.

Functions of a comptroller

Good financial controllers handle a lot of things in an organization.

One of the major roles they carry out is – keen attention to detail and a bigger picture in mind.

However, let’s take a look at some of the other financial controller functions:

1.Setting up a company’s bank account

Also, they are responsible for the setting up of a company’s bank account and also responsible for monitoring the accounts.

2. They verify compliance with tax objectives and the company’s standards and procedures.

3. They are responsible for detecting errors, deviations and areas for improvements from a financial perspective.

4. They implement methodological and IT tools to control activity

5. They maintain relationship between external auditors and response to their demands

6. They train and motivate the financial and accounting team of a company under his/her responsibility

7. Treasury management and supervision of the level of funds needed for common costs and investments

8. Send reports to the senior management of the company, subsidiary or, if applicable, Financial Director of the central or parent company

9. Report to the company’s CFO, on equal footing with managers and finance directors.

Comptroller Salary

According to Payscale:

An early career financial controller with 1-4 years of experience, earns an average total compensation (includes bonuses and overtime pay) of N3, 000,000 based on 8 salaries.

A mid-career comptroller earns an average total compensation of N6, 500,000 based on 7 salaries.

An experienced comptroller with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of N12, 500,000 based on 29 salaries.

Finally, in their late career, that is, 20 years and higher, employees earn an average of total compensation of N15, 000, 000.

The higher your experience; the higher your pay.

See also: FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING: Best practices and Detailed Guide (+free courses)

What makes a good financial controller?

Financial controllers could be called the backbone of a business success, because everyone relies on the comptroller’s figures when making significant business decisions.

What makes a good comptroller?

A good comptroller must possess a blend of strong analytical skills, exceptional problem-solving skills, and a flair for numbers, organizational skills, and excellent leadership skills, to be employable.

He or she must have an eye for detail, must be creative in thinking and have the ability to read and understand a general ledger.

See also: Public finance: Definition, Scope, Importance, Types and Examples (+ free pdfs)

Financial controller skills

What skills must a financial comptroller possess?

The most essential skills a financial controller must possess are all related to accounting and they include:

1. Knowledge or budgeting and forecasting

2. A deep understanding of accounting standards and regulations

3. Solid technical skills

4. Leadership skills

5. Strong organizational skills

6. Strong analytical skills

7. Financial reporting skills

8. Financial analysis skills

9. Must be proficient in the use of spreadsheets

10. High level mathematical and problem solving skills

Which is more important, the CFO or the financial controller?

Traditionally, the CFO ranks just below the CEO in terms of hierarchy. In some instances, the controller reports to the CFO alongside the treasurer and tax manager. There may be positions such as accounting manager, financial planning manager, accounts receivable manager, and accounts payable manager beneath the controller.

What distinguishes a chief financial officer from a controller?

A company’s chief financial officer is accountable for its overall financial health, whereas a comptroller or controller concentrates on more particular parts of financial management. In addition, the CFO reports to the CEO and is a member of the senior management / executive team.

What are the five primary responsibilities of a financial controller?

Financial controllers are ultimately responsible for overseeing finance, accounting, production, marketing, personnel, and operations to ensure that the business is successful and has enough internal controls.

What are some alternative terms for Financial Controller?

Some may refer to themselves as treasurers and others as financial managers.

Who reports to the Financial Controller?

Typically reporting to a finance director or chief financial officer, the financial controller is in charge of an organization’s accounting processes.

Final words

A financial controller is a very lucrative career choice.

However, to stand out, you will need to match the qualifications listed above.

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