A Day in the Life of a Financial Controller
Financial Controllers are almost always senior-level executives who oversee the operations of the finance and accounting departments.
Financial controllers are responsible for managing the teams performing the below-mentioned functions. They are ultimately accountable for any lapses but won’t complete the procedures themselves (unless it’s crunch time and the team need to catch up!)
Meetings, phone calls, emails, specialist process management software to assign and monitor tasks, or any other creative method, may be utilised to accomplish the work. Because of this, financial controllers can expect to spend most of their time managing people. In addition to managing teams, financial controllers act as conduits between the producers of the data and the management teams that need to make decisions based on that data, particularly valid for budgeting and financial planning, where financial controllers are essential.
A financial controller might spend one day planning for a board meeting, while the next day, it might be time to start working on processing the payrolls. The time leading to quarter and year-end deadlines may be busy since all necessary reports must be ready and error-free. Any mistakes can be disastrous, increasing stress levels during certain times of the year.
The day-to-day activities also depend on the size of the company. Financial controllers in smaller companies with fewer teams might have to do more of the work rather than delegate it. At the more significant business houses, financial controllers have daily routines closer to what a Finance Director might do.
Here Are Some of the Primary Job Responsibilities for Financial Controllers:
Financial Governance and Control Policies,
Cash Flow Management,
Financial Risk Management,
Debt Management and Collection,
Managing Payrolls, etc.
This list covers the entire gamut of finance and accounting-related activities that a medium-sized company might need to perform continuously. Therefore, the role of a financial controller is to ensure that all these functions are performed as per the needs of the business and within regulatory/ legal restrictions.
The financial controller is not alone in the performance of these duties. Depending on the organisation’s structure, there will be teams from the finance and accounting departments and possibly others. Financial controllers oversee the various groups who perform these functions and are responsible for monitoring those teams.
The focus areas for financial controllers fall under three broad areas:
Reporting, internal accounting, cost/inventory accounting, and other similar tasks fall under this category. Accounting is considered the primary area of responsibility for the financial controller. Preparing periodic financial reports, ensuring that the accounting systems are operational and error-free, and ensuring compliance with the relevant accounting standards (like IFRS), etc., are some activities that fall under a financial controller’s profile.
It comprises all financial facets unrelated to accounting tasks, such as managing cash flow, budgeting and financial planning, resource allocation, risk management, and handling receivables and payables.
Different companies may structure these departments differently. However, irrespective of which department each specific function is under, the financial controller is responsible for ensuring the completion of the work.
Financial controllers are also responsible for the legal and regulatory requirements as they apply to the finance and accounting functions. For example, the EU cannot legally receive payments from certain sanctioned countries or entities. So being aware of these restrictions and ensuring the teams comply with them is a responsibility that falls to the financial controller. Legal and compliance teams can offer support and information, but regular business activities must be monitored.
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See also Financial Controller Job Description here.
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