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Working as a Controller requires extensive experience in the field of accounting. Controllers oversee the financial operations of companies. Creating budgets, managing investment decisions, assessing risk factors, and creating financial reports are all supervised by the controller.

He or she makes sure accounting records are up to speed with the accounting principles fellow professionals go by, and oversees all accounting departments of the company, guaranteeing that bookkeeping tasks are carried out within the required deadlines. Controllers are involved in the selection and training of accounting employees as well.

Coming up with a viable system for the management and maintenance of accounting records is also the responsibility of the controller, making sure that all financial information is kept confidential and all processes comply with state and federal government regulations.

What Does a Controller Do

Financial managers are responsible for the financial health of an organization. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.

Learn more about what a Controller does

How To Become a Controller

Financial managers typically have a bachelor’s degree and 5 years or more of experience in another business or financial occupation, such as an accountant, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

Education

A bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business administration is often the minimum education needed for financial managers. However, many employers now seek candidates with a master’s degree, preferably in business administration, finance, or economics. These academic programs help students develop analytical skills and learn financial analysis methods and software.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Professional certification is not required, but some financial managers still get it to demonstrate a level of competence. The CFA Institute confers the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification to investment professionals who have at least a bachelor’s degree, 4 years of work experience, and pass three exams. The Association for Financial Professionals confers the Certified Treasury Professional credential to those who pass an exam and have a minimum of 2 years of relevant experience.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Financial managers usually have experience in another business or financial occupation. For example, they may have worked as a loan officer, accountant, securities sales agent, or financial analyst. 

In some cases, companies provide formal management training programs to help prepare highly motivated and skilled financial workers to become financial managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Financial managers increasingly are assisting executives in making decisions that affect their organization, a task which requires analytical ability.

Communication skills. Excellent communication skills are essential because financial managers must explain and justify complex financial transactions.

Detail oriented. In preparing and analyzing reports such as balance sheets and income statements, financial managers must be precise and attentive to their work in order to avoid errors.

Math skills. Financial managers must be skilled in math, including algebra. An understanding of international finance and complex financial documents also is important.

Organizational skills. Financial managers deal with a range of information and documents and so they must stay organized to do their jobs effectively.

Controller Career Paths

Average Salary for a Controller

Controllers in America make an average salary of $101,022 per year or $49 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $138,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $73,000 per year.
Average Controller Salary
$101,022 Yearly
$48.57 hourly
$73,000
10 %
$101,000
Median
$138,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Controller Education

Controller Majors

25.6 %
7.6 %

Controller Degrees

Bachelors

74.6 %

Masters

14.2 %

Associate

7.9 %

Top Colleges for Controllers

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

5. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

6. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

7. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177

8. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,306
Enrollment
9,394

9. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

10. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,625
Enrollment
17,407

Top Skills For a Controller

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.2% of controllers listed financial statements on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and communication skills are important as well.

  • Financial Statements, 12.2%
  • General Ledger Accounts, 9.2%
  • CPA, 7.6%
  • Payroll, 7.0%
  • Internal Audit, 6.2%
  • Other Skills, 57.8%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Controller Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Controller templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Controller resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Controller Demographics

Controller Gender Distribution

Male
Male
59%
Female
Female
41%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among controllers, 41.1% of them are women, while 58.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among controllers is White, which makes up 67.7% of all controllers.

  • The most common foreign language among controllers is Spanish at 48.5%.

Online Courses For Controller That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Financial Accounting Payroll
udemy
4.4
(889)

Payroll calculations - federal income tax, social security, Medicare - Payroll journal entries posted to ledger accounts...

Bank Reconciliations & Cash Internal Controls
udemy
4.4
(260)

Internal controls, bank reconciliations, and internal controls related to checking account...

Financial Accounting Subsidiary Ledgers & Special Journals
udemy
4.8
(283)

Subsidiary ledgers for accounts receivable & accounts payable. Special Journals - Sales journal, purchases journal...

Show More Controller Courses
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Best States For a Controller

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a controller. The best states for people in this position are New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Controllers make the most in New York with an average salary of $125,164. Whereas in New Jersey and Connecticut, they would average $118,469 and $113,719, respectively. While controllers would only make an average of $113,453 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New York

Total Controller Jobs:
1,590
Highest 10% Earn:
$179,000
Location Quotient:
1.27 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Connecticut

Total Controller Jobs:
405
Highest 10% Earn:
$164,000
Location Quotient:
1.25 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Controller Jobs:
1,156
Highest 10% Earn:
$165,000
Location Quotient:
1.29 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Controllers

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Top Controller Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ controllers and discovered their number of controller opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Robert Half was the best, especially with an average salary of $106,221. Aramark follows up with an average salary of $96,044, and then comes Marriott International with an average of $109,124. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a controller. The employers include Emerson, Selene Finance, and Robert Half

Most Common Employers For Controller

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Cisco$127,306$61.2035
2Honeywell$123,531$59.3924
3Siemens$122,656$58.9721
4Eaton$121,361$58.3527
5Emerson$114,718$55.1519
6Xerox$111,489$53.6019
7Hyatt Hotels$110,312$53.0318
8Marriott International$109,124$52.4651
9AutoNation$106,565$51.2322
10Robert Half$106,221$51.07823

Becoming a Controller FAQs

Accounting Manager vs. Controller

An accounting manager is responsible for overseeing some or all of the staff in a company's accounting department, while a controller is responsible for providing financial data in reports.

Controller vs. Accountant

A controller is a financial professional that oversees the accounting operations of a firm or company, while an accountant is a financial professional who analyzes a client or company's financial information.

How long does it take to become a controller?

It can take at least ten years to become a controller. Financial managers typically have a bachelor's degree and five years or more of experience in another business or economic occupation, such as an accountant, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

How much do controllers earn?

Controllers earn $96,000 yearly or $46.26 hourly, on average. As most jobs go, factors like location, industry, and experience can determine your exact salary as the typical controller.

On the lower end of the salary range, they can make around $67,000 or less, usually for entry-level positions or low-paying states like New Mexico and Arkansas. On the higher end, they can earn six-figure salaries like $137,000, typically for senior-level jobs. For corporate controllers, they can earn around $184,000 and more.

Is a controller an executive position?

Yes, a controller is an executive position. They can also be referred to as financial managers who oversee a company's financial operations and usually report to the top-level executive chief financial officer (CFO).

Is controller a good job?

Yes, a controller is a good job. If you like handling financials and appreciate the high salary possibilities, this job may be good for you.

A controller has managerial duties such as overseeing the financial operations of companies and handling tasks like creating budgets, managing investment decisions, assessing risk factors, and creating financial reports. Additionally, controllers are generally responsible for ensuring that all departments work within their respective budgets.

What are the qualifications of a controller?

The qualifications of a controller are typically a bachelor's degree and five years or more of experience in another business or financial occupation, as well as being competent in handling payroll and accounting-related tasks.

What does a controller do?

A controller oversees companies' financial operations, so they do tasks like creating budgets, managing investment decisions, assessing risk factors, and creating financial reports.

Additionally, controllers are generally responsible for ensuring that all departments work within their respective budgets. They have the power to recommend budget cuts due to any unforeseen circumstances that may happen. They also can veto or forego budget items.

What is controller stadia?

Controller stadia is Google's Stadia Controller, a game controller for Google's gaming platform Stadia.

Google's Stadia lets you play video games on devices you already own by letting you stream games directly. This method means you don't need the controller to play, but you can buy it if you prefer traditional controllers similar to other controllers by PlayStation or Xbox.

What is the difference between a comptroller and a controller?

The difference between a comptroller and a controller generally depends on where they work. Overall, they have similar responsibilities and tasks of handling financial operations within the company or organization.

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