Financial Controller: Job profile & Role

Financial controllers oversee an organization’s financial activities, ensuring compliance, accuracy, and strategic planning. Their responsibility is managing financial data and supervising financial teams. They aim to maintain fiscal health, reduce risks, and support sound decision-making. But what does it truly take to excel in this dynamic role? In this blog post, we will delve into the world of financial controlling, exploring the skills required, career paths, and daily life. By the end, you will have a good understanding of what it takes to thrive in this challenging yet rewarding profession.

Short Summary

  • The task of a financial controller is to oversee a company’s financial reporting and compliance to ensure accurate and transparent financial records.
  • In this position, you must possess excellent analytical skills and strong leadership and communication abilities to effectively manage financial operations and guide financial teams.
  • Successful financial controllers must stay updated with financial regulations, maintain strong attention to detail, and foster effective communication within the financial team and across the organization.

Job description

A financial controller plays a crucial role in a company, managing financial activities. Their main task is to ensure accurate and compliant financial reporting, manage budgets, and protect company assets. Responsibilities include financial analysis, auditing, and strategic financial planning. They aim to provide financial stability, transparency, and efficient operations, helping the company achieve its financial objectives while complying with regulations. This role demands strong financial acumen and the ability to make data-driven decisions, ensuring financial health and growth.


  • Financial Reporting
  • Budget Management
  • Asset Protection
  • Auditing
  • Financial Analysis
  • Compliance Assurance
  • Tax Management
  • Forecasting
  • Cost control
  • Strategic Planning

Different types of Financial Controllers

  • Group Financial Controller
  • Divisional Financial Controller
  • Assistant Financial Controller


Financial controllers earn around £45,000 to £130,000 per year, with higher salaries in London and larger international corporations. Advancing your career, gaining more experience, or obtaining professional certifications can lead to higher earnings.

Working hours

As a financial controller, you should expect to work around 40 to 45 hours per week. Overtime might be required, usually compensated with extra pay or time off.

Flexible working hours are often available, especially for more senior positions. Also, remote work is increasingly common, with many tasks easily accomplished through digital tools and connectivity, though this can vary depending on the company’s policies and the nature of the work. 


Financial controllers can find employment in a wide range of industries, including finance, healthcare, manufacturing, technology, and more. They’re essential in any large company that handles finances. Significant employers of financial controllers and related financial professionals include PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), KPMG and Deloitte.

Finding a Job as a Financial Controller

To find suitable job vacancies, it’s wise to explore online job boards, professional networking sites, and the websites of specific companies. Additionally, consider working with recruitment agencies that specialise in finance and accounting roles to identify relevant opportunities.


To become a financial controller, you typically need a relevant academic background and several years of relevant work experience in controlling or accounting. Many financial controllers hold a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or a related field. Professional qualifications like ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) or CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) are highly regarded.

Moreover, proficiency in financial software is crucial. Familiarity with Excel for data analysis and financial modelling is a must. At times you also must be adept at using specialised accounting software such as QuickBooks, SAP, or Oracle.

The job as a financial controller could be suitable for you if you have one or more of the following qualifications:


Becoming a financial controller requires essential soft skills. Employers seek analytical prowess for data interpretation, problem-solving acumen to navigate complex financial challenges, organizational skills to manage financial records efficiently, and effective communication skills to convey financial insights clearly and concisely.

Is the financial controller job a good fit for you? Typically, a financial controller should have or develop the following skills:

Analytical Skills

Analytical skills empower financial controllers to dissect complex financial data, identify trends, and extract meaningful insights. This expertise is crucial for making informed decisions, enhancing financial strategies, and ensuring fiscal health.

This skill equips financial controllers to enhance a company’s profitability, manage risks effectively, and steer financial stability in an ever-evolving business landscape.

Problem-Solving abilities

In the role of a financial controller, complex financial issues and challenges are a daily occurrence. Controllers with adept problem-solving skills can swiftly address these issues, find effective solutions, and enhance financial performance.

Through problem-solving abilities, you can foster operational efficiency, reduce risks, and contribute significantly to a company’s bottom line. This makes problem-solving abilities an essential skill employers look for in a financial controller.

Organisational Skills

Organisational skills are paramount for a financial controller. With strong organisational abilities, a financial controller can efficiently manage data, ensure accuracy, and meet deadlines. This skill streamlines financial processes, reduces errors, and enhances the overall financial health of the company, making it an invaluable asset for both the controller and the organisation.

Career Path

A career path for a financial controller often begins with entry-level accounting roles. As one gains experience and proficiency, they move into senior accounting positions. Advancement leads to becoming a financial controller, overseeing the financial health of a company. Progress may extend to roles like CFO or other executive positions, depending on the company’s structure and the individual’s aspirations.

Educational Background

For financial controllers, a strong educational foundation is essential. Typically, at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field is required. Many financial controllers also pursue professional certifications such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Accountant (CA). These certifications demonstrate expertise in accounting and finance. Additionally, experience in accounting roles and an understanding of financial software are highly valued.

Entry Level

Entry-level experience is crucial for aspiring financial controllers. It offers a practical understanding of financial operations, accounting practices, and software. The best initial experiences include roles like an intern or junior accountant, financial analyst, or accounting assistant. These positions provide hands-on skills and industry knowledge.

Gaining experience without a degree is possible by starting in accounting clerk positions, enrolling in relevant courses, and working up through the ranks, demonstrating competence and a strong work ethic. This experience is a stepping stone towards a successful career as a financial controller, significantly impacting your professional growth.

Continuous Learning

The finance industry evolves rapidly, with changing regulations, technologies, and economic trends. Staying updated through courses, certifications, and industry news ensures you’re equipped to make informed decisions. Continuous learning fosters adaptability and keeps your skills sharp, enhancing your value to employers and your own professional satisfaction.

A Day in the Life of a Financial Controller

The daily life of a financial controller is a dynamic balance of numbers and strategy. It’s an exhilarating journey through financial landscapes, filled with the thrill of managing and optimising resources.

In the following sections, we’ll have a closer look at these core responsibilities and provide an insight into the exciting and demanding day-to-day work of a financial controller.

Financial Analysis

Financial Analysis involves dissecting complex financial data to gauge a company’s financial health, identify trends, and assess risks. The aim is to provide insights for informed decision-making, budget management, and strategic planning. Financial analysis empowers companies to make smart financial moves, increase profitability, and navigate economic challenges effectively, making it a vital task for any business’s success.

Budget Management

Budget Management is a core responsibility of a financial controller. The aim is to ensure that funds are allocated efficiently, expenses are controlled, and financial goals are met. Effective budget management enables companies to plan for growth, avoid financial crises, and allocate resources optimally, making it essential for maintaining financial stability and achieving long-term success in a competitive business environment.


Reporting entails compiling, analysing, and presenting financial data to stakeholders. The aim is to provide accurate, timely information for informed decision-making. Detailed and transparent reporting ensures that management, investors, and regulators have a clear picture of a company’s financial health and performance. This transparency builds trust and confidence, which is vital for attracting investments, maintaining compliance, and steering the company towards profitable ventures in an increasingly complex financial landscape. This makes reporting crucial for a financial controller.

Tips for Thriving as a Financial Controller 

To succeed as a financial controller, one must master financial analysis, budget management, and reporting. A successful controller is detail-oriented, analytically sharp, and possesses excellent problem-solving and communication skills. They ensure precise financial planning, drive efficiency, and provide insightful, data-driven guidance, making them invaluable assets to their company.

In this section, we will explore some tips for thriving in this dynamic profession, including:

  • Knowledge of the Accounting Standards and Principals
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • IT Proficiency

Knowledge of Accounting Standards and Principles

Understanding accounting standards and principles is vital for a successful career as a financial controller. These standards, like IFRS and GAAP, ensure transparency, consistency, and compliance, which are essential in financial roles.

Financial controllers use this knowledge to accurately record, report, and analyse financial data. It helps in creating reliable financial statements, making informed decisions, and ensuring legal compliance. This expertise is the foundation for sound financial management, allowing controllers to steer their company to financial success and meet regulatory requirements. It’s a cornerstone for building trust with stakeholders, which is crucial in this profession.

Interpersonal Skills

Financial controllers use their interpersonal skills to explain complex financial concepts in simple terms, build rapport, and foster trust. They facilitate smooth teamwork, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding financial strategies and goals.

These skills empower a financial controller to influence decisions, negotiate effectively, and navigate financial challenges. Success in this profession depends not only on financial acumen but also on the ability to connect, lead, and inspire others towards financial stability and growth. Therefore, interpersonal skills are the cornerstone of a well-rounded financial controller.

IT Proficiency

Proficiency in accounting software like QuickBooks, Excel, SAP or ERP systems is crucial for efficient data analysis and reporting. It allows financial controllers to swiftly process large datasets, create insightful reports, and offer data-driven strategies for business growth.

Furthermore, data security is paramount, and IT skills help financial controllers protect sensitive financial information. Proficiency in cybersecurity practices ensures that financial data remains safe from threats. Hence, IT proficiency equips financial controllers to stay agile, adapt to evolving technologies, and optimise financial operations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a Financial Controller earn?

The salary of financial controllers varies based on experience and location. On average, they earn £45,000 to £130,000 annually. Those in London and the South East tend to earn more due to the higher cost of living. Also, experienced controllers with strategic insights often command higher salaries.

What qualifications do I need to become a Financial Controller?

To become a financial controller, you typically need a relevant bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or a related field. Professional qualifications like ACCA, CIMA, or ACA are highly regarded. Many financial controllers also possess extensive work experience in accounting or finance roles, often supplemented by postgraduate qualifications like an MBA.

What is the job of a Financial controller?

A financial controller is responsible for managing a company’s financial affairs, overseeing budgets, and ensuring compliance with financial regulations. They analyse data, prepare reports, and offer strategic financial guidance.