what is a financial controller?

As a financial controller, you oversee finance teams. You participate in budget-setting and support various departments in maintaining their budgets. You also work with various professionals and provide financial planning support. Therefore, you need experience with accounting technologies to aid your performance. You also juggle your duties with other managerial responsibilities, such as supervising the accounting team.

Finance controllers maintain a business's current and future stability. You need exceptional skills in accounting and decision-making to take control and be accountable for a company's financial strategies, cost-reduction opportunities and growth evaluation.

Finance controllers work in any industry in the public or the private sector. Whether you work in fast-moving consumer goods companies, mining industries, technology consultancies, not-for-profit organisations or financial services, you perform the same responsibilities. However, the size of the business influences your duties. For instance, in a small company, you manage the business's financial affairs directly, but you may also handle the duties of a finance manager. In large companies, your duties depend on the accounting complexity and the size of the finance team. You could specialise in finance management or supervise the accounting team. The role usually requires strong analytical skills as you handle statistical data.

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average financial controller salary

As a financial controller, you earn an average remuneration package of $150,000 per year. When starting in a junior role, you start with a salary of $140,000 per year, but with experience and advanced educational qualifications, you take home over $160,000 annually.

how to increase your salary as a financial controller

Your earnings as a financial controller depend on various factors. The main determinant is your work experience and educational qualifications. You will likely earn more if you have additional qualifications and certifications to highlight your competencies. After gaining several years of work experience, you can demand a higher salary.

The size of the company also affects your remuneration package. In a small company, you have fewer and less complex duties; in large companies, you handle more complex roles due to the company's huge financial resources.

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


types of financial controllers

The role of a finance controller has numerous aspects and areas of specialisation. As a steward, you conserve and protect a company's resources. You accurately report on the company's financial position, manage risks and preserve the employer's assets.

As an operator, you ensure efficient and effective operations in the accounting department. That involves managing the accounting process to ensure accuracy. Catalysts drive execution by providing the correct information to stakeholders at the appropriate time. They help in decision-making and guide decision-makers to the best options. As a strategic finance controller, you help the executive team drive the company's growth. You aid the development of business strategies.

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Randstad employer brand photo, internal, people, consultants, branch, branches

working as a financial controller

Finance controllers work with accounting and finance teams to control finance and administrative functions. Let's explore the specific roles, work environment and career outlook of a finance controller.


education and skills

To become a financial controller in Australia, you require a degree in accounting or business administration (accounting). Some companies require postgraduate qualifications for the role. You should also be accredited as a chartered accountant (CA) by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand or as a certified practising accountant (CPA) by Certified Practising Accountants Australia.

Aside from qualifications, you require extensive work experience. Start with entry-level roles in accounting or bookkeeping to learn the relevant skills and work towards becoming a financial controller.

financial controller skills and competencies

Some of the personal qualities of a financial controller include:

  • computing skills: as a finance controller, you should be familiar with office technology to succeed. For instance, master the Microsoft Office suite, especially Excel and Access (database management). Your computing skills are useful in bringing together the information you have gathered and analysing it to make decisions.
  • communication skills: as a finance controller, being a great communicator helps you relay information to the accounting team. Communication skills also help you explain the risks of an investment to the executive team in simple terms.
  • analytical skills: finance controllers analyse various financial information and accounting data. For instance, you analyse financial accounts during internal audits and assess the risks of an investment. Analytical skills help you improve your decision-making.
  • leadership and management skills: as a finance controller, you should be a good leader in order to manage and motivate people to optimise their performance. Leadership skills also help you become more strategic in your approach.

FAQs about working as a financial controller

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

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