The Ultimate Guide for Controller Careers

Controller Accounting Finance


It’s easy to look at successful professionals and wonder how they got “there.” While natural talent and good fortune each play a role, the fact is most of their accomplishments can be attributed to good planning. The same is true for controllers at well-respected corporations. These folks didn’t just “fall” into their roles—they started down the path many years prior.

Here’s the Ultimate Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals Who Seek to Find Successful Controller Careers!


Start Planning Early for Controller Careers

As previously mentioned, all success stems from good planning. For people who aspire to be a controller, this can be broken down into “education” and “job selection.”

A bachelor’s degree in either accounting or finance is generally required. Some students will continue with their master’s (MBA), which can be very helpful when trying to secure a controller role down the road. But, a CPA license is probably even more advantageous, if one had to prioritize.

In terms of selecting job roles, professionals who aspire to be controllers should balance accounting and finance experience. Some controller positions require at least five years of accounting background. Candidates are also expected to be knowledgeable in financial management.

Gain Management Experience

Many employers only consider controller candidates who have strong management experience in addition to accounting and finance knowledge. Those who aspire to have controller careers should assume leadership roles whenever possible. Workers who fall into the trap of only working as accountants or analysts may miss out on future opportunities.

Controllers work hand in hand with the leaders of other departments, company executives, and business owners. They must understand the operational realities of other departments in order to make sound decisions and maintain good relationships. Controllers must also be confident enough to say ‘no’ from time to time.

Work on Communication Skills

It may sound cliché to say communication skills are important for aspiring controllers. However, meaningful interaction with a variety of colleagues is a significant part of the job. Professionals who continually work on improving their communication skills are more likely to land a controller position and will perform better once hired.

Aspiring controllers can improve their communication by assuming certain roles and responsibilities earlier in their careers. They should serve on committees and volunteer for public speaking opportunities. Communication is like any skill and improves with experience.

Dedicate Time to Learning New Technologies

Most accounting and finance professionals are rather tech-savvy. It seems to go hand in hand with the profession. However, software constantly evolves, and aspiring controllers need to stay educated on the newest solutions. Successful controllers work to streamline operational processes, many of which are now technological.

At a minimum, prospects should stay well-versed in Microsoft Excel and industry-leading financial analysis software solutions. Ambitious professionals can also review online trade publications to stay on top of trends, which now include smartphone apps and collaboration software platforms.

Final Thoughts

No career path is ever linear. High-level executives often have unique backgrounds that vary from person to person. However, calculated planning is necessary for accounting and finance professionals seeking controller careers. A bit of preparation, combined with a lot of execution, goes a long way!

If you’re seeking finance, accounting, or a controller career, be sure to work with the industry’s best recruiting agency today!

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