Research Summary. Here are some key points about hiring controllers in the United States:

  • There are currently 201,768 controllers in the US, as well as 75,440 job openings.
  • Controllers are in the highest demand in New York, NY, with 134 current job openings.
  • The median cost to hire a controller is $1,633.
  • It takes between 36 and 42 days to fill the average role in the US.
  • Human Resources use 15% of their expenses on recruitment on average.
  • On average, it takes around 12 weeks for a new controller to become settled and show total productivity levels at work.

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How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Controller

There are different types of costs for hiring controllers. One-time cost per hire for the recruitment process. Ongoing costs include employee salary, training, onboarding, benefits, insurance, and equipment. It is essential to consider all of these costs when evaluating hiring a new controller employee.

Controllers earn a median yearly salary is $101,204 a year in the US. However, if you're looking to find controllers for hire on a contract or per-project basis, hourly rates typically range between $33 and $69.

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How to hire a Controller, step by step

To hire a controller, you should clearly understand the skills and experience you are looking for in a candidate, and allocate a budget for the position. You will also need to post and promote the job opening to reach potential candidates. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to hire a controller:

  • Step 1: Identify your needs
  • Step 2: Create an ideal candidate profile
  • Step 3: Make a budget
  • Step 4: Writing a controller job description
  • Step 5: Post the job
  • Step 6: Interview process
  • Step 7: Send a job offer and onboard your new controller
  • Step 8: Go through the checklist for the hiring process

Identify Your Needs

The first step in the controller hiring process is determining what type of worker you actually need. For example, certain roles might require a full-time employee, whereas others can be done by part-time workers or contractors.

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Before you hire a controller, you should also consider the ideal background you'd like them to have. For example, what industry or field they have experience in, what level of seniority or education the job requires, and how much it'll cost to hire a candidate that fits the bill.

The list breaks down common controller roles and compares their salaries.

Type Of ControllerDescriptionHourly Rate
ControllerFinancial 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.$33-69
Business Manager-Finance ManagerA business manager/finance manager is responsible for handling the financial transactions of an organization, analyzing financial reports, and monitor investment activities. Business managers/finance managers strategize effective techniques to boost the organization's financial performance and identify business opportunities to increase revenues... Show More$35-73
Manager/Finance AccountingA manager of finance accounting's role is to oversee the financial activities in a company or organization. Their responsibilities revolve around coordinating with other departments to gather financial data, analyze the revenues and expenditures, and develop written reports and presentations... Show More$31-61

Create An Ideal Candidate Profile

Before creating a controller job description, imagine the ideal employee for this position and begin creating a profile. What skills do they have and what responsibilities do they have to be proficient in?

Here are some of the most common controller skills:

Common Skills:
  • CPA
  • Payroll Processing
  • Reconciliations
  • Cash Management
  • Internal Controls
  • GAAP
  • External Auditors
  • Account Reconciliations
  • Cash Flow
  • General Ledger Accounts
  • Financial Data
  • Journal Entries
  • Oversight
  • Financial Analysis
Check All Skills

Here are the most common controller responsibilities:

  • Manage NAV production, calculation of performance fees, IFRS accounts and subscription/redemption analysis.
  • Lead transition of company from sole proprietor to NYSE list company subsidiary, including implementing new financial reporting system.
  • Manage a team of junior staff accountants and maintaining quality control throughout the entire monthly billing, A/P & A/R processes.
  • Manage treasury, open several new accounts, establish new procedures and controls, monitor daily activity.
  • Produce monthly account reconciliations, post monthly journal entries and review, analyze, correct and issue monthly comparative financial statements.
  • Perform accounting research and special projects as required including cash flow analysis, cost projections, reconciliations and other financial analysis.
Check all Duties

Beyond the nuts and bolts, cultural fit is an important factor. It might help to ask yourself how your ideal controller will live by the company's mission statement and contribute to the team dynamic you already have in place. Clearly communicating this vision in your controller job description will help attract candidates who are better suited for the role.

Most Common States For Controllers In The US

Rank #State# Of Jobs% of PopulationAvg. Salary
2New York1,5908%$121,130

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Make A Budget

Including a salary range in your job description is a great way to entice the best and brightest candidates. A controller salary can vary based on several factors:

  • Location. For example, controllers' average salary in hawaii is 39% less than in new york.
  • Seniority. Entry-level controllers earn 51% less than senior-level controllers.
  • Certifications. A controller with a few certifications under their belt will likely demand a higher salary.
  • Company. Working for a prestigious company or an exciting start-up can make a huge difference in a controller's salary.

Updated March 16, 2023

Controller Salary Estimate


$48.66 hourly

Entry level Salary
$70,000 yearly

Controller Average Salary By Location

RankStateAvg. SalaryHourly RateJob Count
2New York$121,157$58128
4New Jersey$113,947$553

Controller Average Salary By Company

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Perkins Coie$186,620$89.726
3White & Case$144,620$69.53
4Firstservice Residential California, Inc.$140,054$67.3327
5Related Companies$137,441$66.0817
8The Walt Disney Company$135,603$65.1914
9Marathon Petroleum$135,582$65.185
10Neuberger Berman$133,404$64.149
12BP America Inc$130,365$62.68
13General Motors$128,570$61.811
15FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies$125,744$60.454
17First National Realty$125,369$60.27
18Koch Industries$124,628$59.9232
19Pathway Medical$124,462$59.84

Writing a Controller Job Description

A job description for a controller role includes a summary of the job's main responsibilities, required skills, and preferred background experience. Including a salary range can also go a long way in attracting more candidates to apply, and showing the first name of the hiring manager can also make applicants more comfortable. As an example, here's a controller job description:

Example of Full Job Description

Directs financial activities of the organization. Establishes, or recommends to management, major economic objectives and policies for company. Prepares reports which summarize and forecast company business activity and financial position in areas of income, expenses and earnings based on past, present and expected operations. Responsible for preparation of annual hospital budget. Advises management on desirable operational adjustments due to budget constraints and changes in hospital reimbursement. Supervises preparation of schedules and other documentation for audits of company's accounts.

Directs and participates in the development of accounting and internal control policies and systems.
Coordinates and controls the facility's cash and investment management activities.
Provides advice and assistance to department heads and managers in analyzing and interpreting financial data and reports and in presenting that information to their departments.
Defines and communicates new/revised position responsibilities and/or reporting relationships and determines necessary staffing changes.
Ensures that accurate information is provided on a timely basis and assists, as needed, in facilitating the efficient conduct of external audits, examinations and related financial projects.
Ensures that a monthly time schedule is established for the processing of computer reports necessary for the preparation of monthly financial statements; implements corrective action as necessary to meet established deadlines.
Consistently develops a detailed plan of action prior to implementation of a new procedure.
Regularly examines alternative methods of providing required accounting services in order to reduce departmental operating costs.
Promotes good staffing practices by maximizing the utilization of human resources; forecasts and anticipates the personnel needs of the department with regard to fluctuations in the projected workload; holds staffing at a functional minimum.
Consistently demonstrates the ability to establish appropriate departmental priorities.
Consistently completes all assignment in a timely manner, thorough and appropriately detailed.
Demonstrates effectiveness in pulling together all the necessary information needed to compare revenue and expenses and determine the facility's actual financial position.
Effectively maintains all required records for the department; demonstrates good organizational skills.
Monitors the implementation of checks and balances which continually evaluate accounting practices, reporting procedures and record keeping.
Other duties as assigned.

Bachelors in Business, Healthcare Administration, Accounting, Finance or similar required.
Prior management experience preferred.
Excellent computer knowledge.
Advanced Excel user.
Excellent knowledge of accounting software packages and spreadsheets.

Job: Accounting/FinancePrimary Location: TN-Knoxville-Knoxville Rehab HospitalOrganization: 4097 - Knoxville Rehab HospitalShift: Day

Post A Job

There are a few common ways to find controllers for your business:

  • Promoting internally or recruiting from your existing workforce.
  • Ask for referrals from friends, family members, and current employees.
  • Attend job fairs at local colleges to meet candidates with the right educational background.
  • Use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to recruit passive job-seekers.

Post your job online:

  • Post your controller job on Zippia to find and recruit controller candidates who meet your exact specifications.
  • Use field-specific websites.
  • Post a job on free websites.

Interview Process

Recruiting controllers involves bringing your A-game to the interview process. The first interview should introduce the company and the role to the candidate as much as they introduce their background experience and reasons for applying for the job. During later interviews, you can go into more detail about the technical details of the job and ask behavioral questions to gauge how they'd fit into your current company culture.

Don't forget to include a few questions that give a candidate chance to expand on their strengths in their own words. Asking about their special skills might reveal things you'd miss otherwise. At this point, candidates who are good enough can move on to the technical interview.

The right interview questions can help you assess a candidate's hard skills, behavioral intelligence, and soft skills.

Send A Job Offer And Onboard Your New Controller

Once you've found the controller candidate you'd like to hire, it's time to write an offer letter. This should include an explicit job offer that includes the salary, as well as the details of any other perks. Qualified candidates might be looking at multiple positions, so your offer needs to be competitive if you really like the candidate. Also, be prepared for a negotiation stage, as candidates may way want to tweak the details of your initial offer. Once you've settled on these details, you can draft a contract to formalize your agreement.

It's also good etiquette to follow up with applicants who don't get the job by sending them an email letting them know that the position has been filled.

To prepare for the new employee's start date, you can create an onboarding schedule and complete any necessary paperwork, such as employee action forms and onboarding documents like I-9 forms, benefits enrollment, and federal and state tax forms. Human Resources should also ensure that a new employee file is created.

Go Through The Checklist For The Hiring Process

  • Determine employee type (full-time, part-time, contractor, etc.)
  • Submit a job requisition form to the HR department
  • Define job responsibilities and requirements
  • Establish budget and timeline
  • Determine hiring decision makers for the role
  • Write job description
  • Post job on job boards, company website, etc.
  • Promote the job internally
  • Process applications through applicant tracking system
  • Review resumes and cover letters
  • Shortlist candidates for screening
  • Hold phone/virtual interview screening with first round of candidates
  • Conduct in-person interviews with top candidates from first round
  • Score candidates based on weighted criteria (e.g., experience, education, background, cultural fit, skill set, etc.)
  • Conduct background checks on top candidates
  • Check references of top candidates
  • Consult with HR and hiring decision makers on job offer specifics
  • Extend offer to top candidate(s)
  • Receive formal job offer acceptance and signed employment contract
  • Inform other candidates that the position has been filled
  • Set and communicate onboarding schedule to new hire(s)
  • Complete new hire paperwork (i9, benefits enrollment, tax forms, etc.)
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Hiring Controllers FAQs

How Much Does A Good Controller Cost?

A good controller costs $48.66 an hour in the US. However, it can vary based on factors such as the controller experience, abilities, industry, and the specific requirements of your business.

What Are The Duties Of A Controller?

The duties of a controller are:
  • Manage NAV production, calculation of performance fees, IFRS accounts and subscription/redemption analysis.
  • Lead transition of company from sole proprietor to NYSE list company subsidiary, including implementing new financial reporting system.
  • Manage a team of junior staff accountants and maintaining quality control throughout the entire monthly billing, A/P & A/R processes.

Should I Hire A Controller With No Experience?

Yes, you should hire a controller with no experience. Hiring an entry-level controller with no experience offers versatility for your team. They may lack some qualifications, but are adaptable and have not yet formed problematic habits. However, more training may be required compared to experienced.

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