Financial Controller Job Description
Second in command only to the Finance Director themselves, Financial Controllers hold senior positions, looking after an organisation’s finances and making important, influential business decisions. If you are an experienced Accountant with excellent leadership skills and a penchant for organisation, a career as a Financial Controller could be for you.
Due to the role’s seniority and high earning potential, Financial Controllership is an attractive and admirable ambition for many accountants and finance professionals. But what is a Financial Controller?
Financial Controllers are ultimately accountable for the full accounting operation of a business, while also holding responsibility for mentoring, managing and motivating the finance team.
Sitting towards the top of the finance department, Financial Control professionals usually report directly to the Finance Director and have high levels of exposure to senior non-finance staff across the business.
In terms of working locations, industries and environments, Financial Controllers are spoilt for choice. After all, every business and organisation in the world needs someone to oversee their money.
So, we know that Financial Controllers are accountable for the finances of a business and the development of the finance team. But what exactly do they do day-to-day? While variations exist between roles, the key responsibilities of a Financial Controller usually include:
• Preparing monthly management accounts
• Year-end preparation
• Short and long-term forecasts
• Creating budgets
• Monitoring performance against budgets
• Managing audit and liaising with external auditors
• P&L calculations
• Costs analysis
• Producing periodic and ad hoc financial and KPI reports
• Managing tax, payroll, bank reconciliations, purchase and sales ledgers
• Assessing processes/systems, identifying issues and implementing improvements
• Communicating financial concepts to non-finance colleagues and managers
• Recruiting, training, mentoring, assisting and generally managing the finance team
Financial Controller qualifications and experience
Financial Controllers hold senior positions with very high levels of responsibility. As such, Financial Controllership is a long-term goal achievable after several years of accounting experience. In fact, our 2018 Audience Insight Report found the average age of Financial Controllers in the UK to be 42.
Employers usually request applications from those who demonstrate some or all of the following:
• A bachelor’s degree in a finance, accounting or business-related discipline
• A Master of Business Administration degree (MBA)
• A professional accountancy qualification such as CIMA, ACCA or ACA
• Around 5+ years of post-qualification experience in increasingly senior finance roles
• Some team leadership or supervisory experience
Financial Controller skills
It almost goes without saying: prospective Financial Controllers must be comfortable and confident handling and analysing complex numbers and high volumes of data. Other key skills of a Financial Controller include:
• Leadership and team management skills
• Exceptional technical accounting ability
• High levels of organisation and attention to detail
• Strong communication and relationship building skills
• Critical thinking skills
• Proficiency in Excel and general IT skills
• Influencing skills and the ability to make sound commercial decisions
• The ability to meet targets and work to deadlines
• High levels of confidence
According to data gathered in our survey of over 2,000 accountancy and finance professionals, the average Financial Controller salary comes in at £69,694. Financial Controller salaries in the UK vary based on location, with London professionals earning £79,557 on average while those in Wales report salaries around the £45,000 mark. Naturally, salaries also diverge depending on several other factors including company size and experience level.