what is a business controller?

As a business controller, your goal is to improve the operations of the company you work for. You use financial data, as well as what you learn from the day-to-day operation of the business, to grow the company. Business controllers report to the chief executive officer (CEO) and chief financial officer (CFO). Knowledge of organisational goals helps you develop strategies to improve productivity and profits. You advise senior executives on financial and operational activities that impact business development. You also prepare business plans and guide managers in business planning to aid in the achievement of company goals.

Having communication skills and a goal-oriented mindset helps you grow the company. As a business controller, it's important to understand key financial indicators and know how to improve office performance and productivity. You also make important decisions about the company's budget and future.

A background in business, finance or economics increases your success since you gain accounting and financial analysis skills. Collaborating with the finance team and demonstrating your business savvy is part of your everyday routine.

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average business controller salary

As a business controller, you earn an average salary of $150,000 annually. The remuneration package fluctuates based on various factors, such as experience and the complexity of your duties. When you work in a junior-level position, you take home a salary of $127,500 per year. The most experienced business controllers in Australia earn over $179,400 per year.

what factors affect the salary of a business controller?

The main determinant of your remuneration is your expertise and educational qualifications. If you have only a bachelor's degree with entry-level qualifications, you will likely earn less than a business controller who has extra certifications to showcase their expertise. Having over five years of work experience also makes a difference in your earnings since employers are willing to pay more for your skills.

Working in a large organisation improves your remuneration prospects significantly. Large companies have vast resources and can afford to pay higher salaries. Besides, you have more complex roles due to the significant business activities. Small companies have limited resources and may not have the budget to pay high salaries.

Want to know what you will earn as a business controller? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.


types of business controllers

Employers require different types of business controllers. The bigger the company, the greater the choices or opportunities offered. Business controllers fall into various categories, including financial, marketing and human resources controllers. As a financial controller, you are responsible for a company's management and financial planning. You work with auditors, managers and CFOs to ensure tax code compliance and to oversee spending and revenue.

As a marketing controller, your duties include analysing and evaluating a company's spending on marketing and advertising. You need a strong background in marketing and finance. As a human resources (HR) controller, you make top decisions about personnel, including maximising training and optimising employee programmes or benefits. You also help obtain and keep good personnel.

man and woman working in front of a computer
man and woman working in front of a computer

working as a business controller

What does a business controller do? What would your daily work life be like? Here is what you can expect when working in this field.


education and skills

If you want to become a business controller in Australia, pursue a bachelor's degree in accounting, business administration or finance. The full-time university degree takes four years, and you can join an internship to gain on-the-job experience. As a business controller, you hold a senior position and make important business decisions. You should pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) to improve your leadership skills and expertise.

Aside from practical training and internships, you need experience working in finance and accounting departments to understand how companies work. Employers prefer candidates with a Chartered Professional Accountant designation. You can also consider getting accounting certifications, such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Internal Auditor.

business controller skills and competencies

Some of the skills and competencies of a business controller include:

  • analytical skills: as a business controller, you review financial and operational data. You rely on your analytical skills to review financial reports and check for compliance. Your analytical ability also helps you improve the company's financial strategy and manage risk.
  • attention to detail: as a business controller, you should pay attention to mistakes made in preparing financial statements. Your attentiveness to detail helps you keep an eye out for discrepancies and inaccuracies.
  • communication skills: as a business controller, you run a team of accounting and finance staff. Your communication skills are crucial in giving instructions and assisting accountants in their duties. You also explain complex financial information in simple terms that senior officials can understand.
  • organisation skills: as a business controller, you oversee operations and financial activities. Your organisational skills help you keep track of vital data and duties to ensure the department runs smoothly.
  • technical skills: as a business controller, you use financial software to review financial data and analyse company operations. Having computer skills and technical knowledge in using financial software is important.

FAQs about working as a business controller

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a business controller.

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