Being a financial controller is a position of leadership. Although different companies have different structures, the financial controller is usually close to the very top of the finance and accounting department. Because of this, financial controllers must demonstrate their leadership abilities in addition to their core skills in finance, accounting, budgeting, planning, reporting, etc.
Professionals in finance and accounting may have a slightly harder time filling their resumes with flashy bullet points like someone from the sales department, for example. Often, the efforts of financial controllers and others in the department can only be measured in subjective terms or in a broader context as opposed to a salesman who can simply include half a sentence which mentions how much revenue he generated last fiscal.
That shouldn’t pull one down though. Remember that the person looking at the resume probably has a pretty good idea about what the role entails and what achievements to look out for. It’s always preferable to make objective statements which include a numerical reference point rather than making generic and subjective statements. For example, saying that you managed four subsidiaries across three continents is more impactful than saying that you managed multiple entities across geographies. Objective and numerical data points always pop out. The focus should be the results achieved, whenever possible.
Bare-minimum skills vs differentiators
A lot of resumes mention the bare minimum skills like “strong analytical skills”, attention to details” and so on. While these are obviously necessary for a financial controller, they are essentially the bare minimum skills rather than differentiators. Your goal is to stand out as an expectational candidate, not being drowned out in the crowd.
Towards that end, always mention remarkable or exceptional traits first and foremost. Better yet, mention objectively quantifiable results. Did you achieve a € 5 million saving through some optimisation? That needs to be at the top and bolded. Then, it can be followed by how it was achieved, and it serves as a real-life example or mini case-study of your analytical skills rather than just a dry comment that you possess them!
Team management, leadership, and inter-departmental relations
Once the core finance and accounting skills are taken care of, next up are leadership and people management. Financial controllers will usually have a few accounting or finance people reporting to them. Mentioning that you managed a team of x people successfully is obviously a perfectly reasonable statement to include ion your CV. However, financial controllers must work very closely with other departments and being a team player is a key part of the job. Joint projects that were executed with other departments or going above and beyond your normal duties to achieve a positive outcome might also be worth a bullet point or two on your CV.
At the end of the day though, financial controllers must provide leadership to the finance department and establish financial control over the entire organisation. If you can demonstrate your ability to do that better than the other candidates, you would have a head start.
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