Becoming a Financial Controller
A financial controller is in a position of considerable responsibility. They are responsible for overseeing the preparation and dissemination of the regulatory financial statements of a corporation. Additionally, they also oversee other functions performed by the finance and accounting departments. These include, but are not limited to, budgeting, planning, cash flow management, maintenance of bank accounts, cost and inventory accounting and so on.
To perform all these responsibilities and more, a financial controller requires a lot of experience and professional qualifications, see article on job description, You can learn more about these academic and professional requirements in our article on qualification and skills.
There are multiple paths to securing a position as a financial controller, but the following steps need to be followed for all of them.
Step 1 – Gain some accounting/finance experience
Financial controllership positions almost always require anything from 5 to 15 years of work experience. Even for smaller companies, some amount of prior work experience in the financial accounting function is considered mandatory. Therefore, candidates looking to join the financial controllership position must plan and spend some years in the finance or accounting department learning the requisite skills.
These skills include preparation of financial statements including the balance sheet, profit and loss account, cash flow statements, etc. Additionally, it would also require skills such as budgeting, cost accounting, managing cash flows, managing receivables and payables, managing the company’s bank accounts and so on.
Step 2 – Get a professional accounting qualification
Unlike many other job roles, professional certifications for a financial controllership position are often necessary. There are various organisations that offer these certifications in different countries. Candidates should choose one of these certifications based on their preferred country of employment. Of course, many of these qualifications are global or applicable across multiple countries. To learn more please visit the following link on qualifications.
Please note that steps one and two above can be interchangeable depending on specific circumstances.
Step 3 – Display leadership potential
Financial controllers have huge responsibilities placed on their shoulders. To achieve all of their work-related objectives they have to rely on large teams of professionals they directly manage while also interacting with other teams. This makes management and leadership skills a necessary pre-requisite. Furthermore, financial controller positions are usually considered a stepping stone to the top position in the finance department such as the Finance Director or CFO. Considering all of this, it becomes self-evident that those looking to become financial controllers not only need to possess leadership skills but also demonstrate those skills repeatedly to decision-makers.
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