What is a Controller?

ControllerWhat is a controller? A controller is a type of financial manager who focuses on preparing reports that give executives, investors and stakeholders a complete picture of the financial health of an organization. The controller also oversees the accounting, auditing, and budget departments of their organization. If you’re interested in a leadership role in the field of finance, read on to learn more about a career as a controller.

Becoming a Controller

Professionals in the controller role typically have a bachelor’s degree along with at least five years of experience in the business or financial sector. If you’re interested in ascending to the role of controller, start off by earning a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, business, accounting, or a related field. People who become controllers usually begin in finance positions such as loan officer, financial analyst, accountant, or auditor, which are often entry level positions. A master’s degree in accounting, business administration, finance, or economics is not required, but may make you more attractive to potential employers.

Work Environment For Controllers

Most of the more than 520,000 controllers in the United States work full time jobs, often with overtime required, since this is a challenging and critical position for most organizations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 28 percent of controllers work in the finance and insurance industries; 10 percent in management; 10 percent in professional, scientific, and technical services; 8 percent in manufacturing; and 8 percent in government.

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Controller Salary

Controllers make an average annual salary of $109,740, with 10 percent of controllers making less than $59,000 and 10 percent making more than $187,200. The highest paying industry for this role is professional and scientific services, followed by management, finance, manufacturing, and government. This makes it one of the highest-paying jobs possible to attain with just a bachelor’s degree, which is attractive to those who may not want to accumulate large student loans for graduate school.

Job Outlook for Controllers

Financial management positions are expected to grow by 9 percent over the next ten years, which is about average for most types of careers. This means that by 2022, there will be 47,100 new jobs in this realm. Growth for controller careers will be driven by national and international economic growth as the United States continues to be a financial center for the entire globe.

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Resources for Controller Careers

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a controller, there are professional organizations that can provide resources and tools as you set off on this career path. As a student, consider joining the Association for Financial Professionals, or the Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business.

Excelling in math classes is a great way to get started on the path to becoming a controller. If you want to learn more about what a controller is, consider completing an internship at a financial institution during your undergraduate career, which will help build your professional network.