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Working As a Controller

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Processing Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $101,000

    Average Salary

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.

Duties

Financial managers typically do the following:

  • Prepare financial statements, business activity reports, and forecasts
  • Monitor financial details to ensure that legal requirements are met
  • Supervise employees who do financial reporting and budgeting
  • Review company financial reports and seek ways to reduce costs
  • Analyze market trends to maximize profits and find expansion opportunities
  • Help management make financial decisions

The role of the financial manager, particularly in business, is changing in response to technological advances that have substantially reduced the amount of time it takes to produce financial reports. Financial managers’ main responsibility used to be monitoring a company’s finances, but they now do more data analysis and advise senior managers on ways to maximize profits. They often work on teams, acting as business advisors to top executives.

Financial managers also do tasks that are specific to their organization or industry. For example, government financial managers must be experts on government appropriations and budgeting processes, and healthcare financial managers must know about topics in healthcare finance. Moreover, financial managers must be knowledgeable about special tax laws and regulations that affect their industry.

The following are examples of types of financial managers:

Chief financial officers (CFOs) are accountable for the accuracy of a company’s or organization’s financial reporting, especially among publicly traded companies. As head of a company’s entire financial department, they manage the lower level financial managers. They oversee the company’s financial goals, objectives, and budgets.

Controllers direct the preparation of financial reports that summarize and forecast the organization’s financial position, such as income statements, balance sheets, and analyses of future earnings or expenses. Controllers also are in charge of preparing special reports required by governmental agencies that regulate businesses. Often, controllers oversee the accounting, audit, and budget departments of their organization.

Treasurers and finance officers direct their organization’s budgets to meet its financial goals. They oversee the investment of funds and carry out strategies to raise capital (such as issuing stocks or bonds) to support the firm’s expansion. They also develop financial plans for mergers (two companies joining together) and acquisitions (one company buying another).

Credit managers oversee their firm’s credit business. They set credit-rating criteria, determine credit ceilings, and monitor the collections of past-due accounts.

Cash managers monitor and control the flow of cash that comes in and goes out of the company to meet the company’s business and investment needs. For example, they must project cash flow (amounts coming in and going out) to determine whether the company will have a shortage or surplus of cash. 

Risk managers control financial risk by using strategies to limit or offset the probability of a financial loss or a company’s exposure to financial uncertainty. Among the risks they try to limit are those that stem from currency or commodity price changes.

Insurance managers decide how best to limit a company’s losses by obtaining insurance against risks, such as the need to make disability payments for an employee who gets hurt on the job or the costs imposed by a lawsuit against the company.

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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.

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Controller Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Controller 5.0 years
Plant Controller 4.8 years
Comptroller 4.3 years
Group Controller 3.9 years
Finance Controller 3.8 years
Unit Controller 3.6 years
Top Careers Before Controller
Accountant 9.2%
Consultant 2.3%
Manager 2.2%
Bookkeeper 1.9%
Auditor 1.9%
Top Careers After Controller
Consultant 7.2%
Accountant 7.2%
Owner 3.0%
Manager 2.0%

Do you work as a Controller?

Average Yearly Salary
$101,000
Show Salaries
$68,000
Min 10%
$101,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Median 50%
$148,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
White & Case
Highest Paying City
New York, NY
Highest Paying State
New York
Avg Experience Level
5.3 years
How much does a Controller make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Controller in the United States is $101,378 per year or $49 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $68,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $149,000.

Real Controller Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Private Equity Controller Oz Management LP New York, NY Jan 11, 2015 $300,000
Private Equity Controller Oz Management LP New York, NY Nov 01, 2015 $300,000
Controller Independent Appraisal Guide, LLC Alpharetta, GA Feb 18, 2015 $263,000
Controller Oz Management New York, NY Mar 22, 2016 $227,178
Controller Archway Partnerships, Inc. Norwalk, CT Apr 22, 2016 $204,485
I IA WT Controller Siemens Industry, Inc. Alpharetta, GA Sep 23, 2016 $199,134
Controller Marlin Management Company, LLC Hermosa Beach, CA Sep 14, 2015 $195,000
Controller, North America Imaging KaVo Dental Technologies LLC Hatfield, PA Dec 04, 2016 $189,155
Controller Related Partners, Inc. New York, NY Dec 23, 2016 $188,989
Controller Payoneer Inc. New York, NY Sep 09, 2015 $183,573
Controller Chemical Resources, Inc. Princeton, NJ Apr 10, 2016 $183,168
Controller, North America Imaging Dental Imaging Technologies Corporation Hatfield, PA Nov 08, 2016 $183,061
Controller Related Partners, Inc. New York, NY Mar 11, 2015 $182,957
Controller Tramontina USA, Inc. Sugar Land, TX Nov 14, 2016 $179,774
Controller UE MacHinery & Parts LLC Hialeah Gardens, FL Sep 22, 2015 $115,550
Controller Therapy Alliance, Inc. Miami Lakes, FL Mar 23, 2016 $115,544
Controller Business Telecommunications Services Inc. Miami, FL May 01, 2015 $115,544
Controller Ad.com Interactive Media, Inc. Burbank, CA Jan 26, 2016 $115,086
Controller Synergy Oil & Gas, LLC Long Beach, CA Jun 29, 2015 $115,086
Controller American Health Services Santa Clarita, CA Dec 02, 2016 $115,086
Controller Matomy U.S.A., Inc. New York, NY Aug 22, 2016 $115,000
Controller Brink's, Incorporated Medley, FL Sep 01, 2015 $115,000
Controller Berlitz Corporation Princeton, NJ Sep 06, 2015 $92,100 -
$117,000
Controller Pi Works Us Inc. Reston, VA Aug 01, 2016 $92,000
Controller African Wildlife Foundation Washington, DC Sep 30, 2015 $92,000
Product Controller Barclays Services Corp. New York, NY Nov 29, 2015 $92,000 -
$130,000
Sales Controller-Automotive Freudenberg-NOK General Partnership Plymouth, MI Oct 01, 2015 $92,000
Controller Alltour America Transportation, Inc. Orlando, FL Feb 24, 2015 $91,900 -
$95,000
Controller Fluet & Associates, PLLC Woodbridge, VA Jan 19, 2016 $91,894
Controller Kol Marble&Granite LLC. Cherry Hill, NJ Jun 13, 2016 $91,458

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Top Skills for A Controller

  1. Income Tax Returns
  2. General Ledger Accounts
  3. Financial Statements
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide Corporate Tax Department with necessary documentation to support deferred tax account and prepare income tax returns.
  • Reviewed general ledger accounts to ensure that activity complied with company policies and procedures and that balances were accurately stated.
  • Directed daily financial operations and the execution of annual/quarterly financial statements for copper-winning operation with operations throughout the western United States.
  • Reduced annual audit financial statement process by two months by utilizing automation of schedules and SharePoint technology with external auditors.
  • Conducted monthly and year-end closing of the general ledger, consolidation, balance sheet reconciliation and financial statement preparation.

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Top 10 Best States for Controllers

  1. New York
  2. Connecticut
  3. New Jersey
  4. California
  5. Oregon
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Virginia
  9. Colorado
  10. Washington
  • (1,038 jobs)
  • (287 jobs)
  • (484 jobs)
  • (2,857 jobs)
  • (222 jobs)
  • (591 jobs)
  • (659 jobs)
  • (485 jobs)
  • (397 jobs)
  • (496 jobs)

Controller Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 73,799 Controller resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Controller Resume

View Resume Examples

Controller Demographics

Gender

Male

53.9%

Female

38.0%

Unknown

8.2%
Ethnicity

White

62.2%

Hispanic or Latino

14.7%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

8.2%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.5%

French

10.5%

German

6.3%

Portuguese

6.1%

Chinese

4.2%

Mandarin

3.7%

Russian

3.4%

Italian

3.2%

Japanese

3.2%

Korean

1.6%

Cantonese

1.6%

Carrier

1.5%

Arabic

1.5%

Polish

1.1%

Hebrew

0.7%

Turkish

0.7%

Dutch

0.7%

Greek

0.7%

Swedish

0.6%

Hindi

0.5%
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Controller Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

24.9%

University of Houston

5.6%

Pace University - New York

5.0%

Arizona State University

4.7%

DePaul University

4.4%

Pennsylvania State University

4.3%

New York University

4.0%

Texas A&M University

4.0%

Northeastern University

3.9%

University of Texas at Austin

3.9%

Fairleigh Dickinson University

3.8%

Strayer University

3.8%

Georgia State University

3.7%

Michigan State University

3.5%

University of South Florida

3.5%

San Diego State University

3.5%

Northern Illinois University

3.4%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.4%

University of Utah

3.3%

Community College of the Air Force

3.3%
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Majors

Accounting

49.9%

Business

28.3%

Finance

9.7%

Management

2.3%

Economics

1.1%

Computer Science

1.0%

Electrical Engineering

0.9%

Criminal Justice

0.8%

Accounting And Computer Science

0.7%

Education

0.7%

Taxation

0.6%

Marketing

0.6%

Psychology

0.5%

Health Care Administration

0.5%

Computer Information Systems

0.5%

Business Economics

0.4%

Human Resources Management

0.4%

Information Technology

0.4%

Computer Engineering

0.4%

International Business

0.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.2%

Masters

29.7%

Other

10.5%

Associate

4.2%

Certificate

2.0%

Doctorate

0.7%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.2%
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Updated May 19, 2020