Financial Controller Career Guide

Career Guide – Financial Controller Career Guide

Career Guide – Financial Controller Career Guide

The role of a financial controller is an important part of the makeup of many medium and large companies.  It is a crucial role that helps to ensure the business is running on a smooth and firm financial footing and also oversees the accountants working in the various areas of the business.


The basic job description of the financial controller involves supervising all of the accounting activities of an organisation.  They are normally number two to a finance director and is the head of the accountancy team.  This involves a lot of general and specific tasks that means that financial controller jobs can be varied in their day to day duties.

Responsibilities that a financial controller is often tasked with include:

  • Preparation of financial statements
  • Budget compiling
  • Calculating profit and loss
  • Making cost analysis and recommendations about efficiency in the business’ finances
  • Presenting financial reports and development to the various levels of the business

In a sense, the financial controller is both the head accountant and financial advisor to the business, helping it to maximise profits and ensure that all financial transactions are in order.  This will involve monthly, quarterly and annual reports.

Skills and qualifications

Because financial controller careers are counted as senior level roles, you do need the right kind of qualifications and experience to have a chance of getting the job.  A degree in maths, economics or business is usually required along with specialist qualifications from a body such as the Institute of Chartered Accountant or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.  You will have worked in different roles in accounting departments to have gained the experience necessary for the role.

In terms of the skills that make the ideal candidate, analytical skills are one of the most important alongside superior financial acumen.  The role involves a lot of analysis of data to get the information needed for the business to make decisions going forward and can also involve some deductive skills.  Candidates also need to stick to strict financial deadlines and should be able to maintain their objectivity.  Finally, interpersonal and presentation skills are required to present the results of the analysis to different levels of the business.

Work life and career path

Hours for financial controller jobs are based on traditional office hours with the need to work outside these depending on the deadlines in place or the jobs that need to be done.  So often, at the end of the month or the year, longer hours may be required.  Pay scales for these roles will depending on experience and the nature of the business but be can anywhere from £28,000 up to in excess of £100,000.

The career path for this kind of role would be to move to being a financial director with overall control of the finances of a business.


Being a financial controller is a job to aim towards and if you have the right qualifications, skills and experience, it is a rewarding role with much responsibility and also the chance to move up to the highest levels of the business.


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