What's it like to be a Financial Controller?
Financial Controllers, also sometimes called Financial Managers, are responsible for overseeing the operations of finance departments in larger businesses or organisations that need more than just a single bookkeeper. As well as managing cash flow and expenditures, Financial Controllers take a bigger-picture view and may be responsible for how an organisation invests, and for assessing and managing financial risks. Financial Controllers are managers of people and teams, as well as being responsible for money.
Tasks and duties
- Managing annual budgets and forecasts.
- Overseeing taxation activity.
- Ensuring compliance to laws, and financial or tax regulation.
- Maintaining relationships with auditors and banks.
- Identifying business efficiencies and operational improvements.
- Maintaining accounting procedure and policy documentation.
- Solving complex accounting issues.
- Managing finance department staff.
- Overseeing financial statements and annual reports.
- Measuring company performance against internal and external benchmarks.
- Working with executive leadership to plan, scope and implement projects and programs.
How to become a Financial Controller
Financial Controllers are managers with tertiary education and extensive on-the-job experience in accounting and finance.
Complete a bachelor degree in accounting or finance from a university. This typically takes three years when done full-time. A bachelor in economics or business studies may give you relevant skills, although further courses in accounting are usually required.
Work towards becoming a Chartered Accountant registered with Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand (CA ANZ), as most employers will prefer to hire Financial Controllers with this accreditation. At least three years’ professional accounting experience is required to sit CA ANZ tests.
Get relevant work experience. Financial Controllers are managers, so generally need to have significant professional experience.