what is a project controller?

As a project controller, you ensure a project progresses according to plan. Project controllers work with project managers to ensure each project runs smoothly. Once you understand the goals of a project, you develop a financial plan and schedule and monitor them throughout the duration.

If a project deviates from the initial plan, you offer guidance on how to get it back on track. It’s primarily an advisory role yet an essential one that helps ensure both scheduling and finances go as expected.

Project controllers work in various industries, and it's typically advisable to have some knowledge about the industry in which you're involved. For instance, if you work in mining or construction, being knowledgeable about these industries and how they operate is recommended.

Although being a project controller is an advisory role, you require various skills to perform your tasks. Finance knowledge is vital, and you should also know how to use various computer programs that allow you to track and monitor the finances and schedules of the project. You should also be capable of completing budgets and reports. Clear written and verbal communication skills are also necessary to properly express your findings.

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average project controller salary

As a project controller, your average salary is $115,120 per year. However, your remuneration package varies based on experience, project size and the complexity of your duties. Entry-level positions in this role attract a remuneration package of $93,638 per year. The most experienced project controllers take home a salary of $146,897 per year.

how to increase your earnings as a project controller

The remuneration package depends on your work experience. When you are new to the role, you have minimal experience. Hence, you take home a lower salary since you handle less complex tasks. When you have over five years of experience, you take on complex duties that boost your remuneration prospects.

The project size also influences your earnings. You earn a lower salary when you work on small projects since they have low budgets. Large, complex projects require additional expertise. If you work on projects with big budgets, your remuneration package is higher.

The geographical location also affects your remuneration package due to the fluctuation in demand and cost of living. When you work in metro areas, you earn more because of the high demand for project controllers. Major projects are also situated in metro areas, improving your remuneration prospects. Smaller cities have a lower demand for project controllers, which lowers potential salaries.

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


types of project controllers

As a project controller, you work in diverse business sectors. For instance, information technology (IT) project controllers work in technology companies, assisting IT teams in their duties. Your job is to assist with budgeting and IT project finances. You come up with cost management solutions and ensure the team sticks to the budget.

In construction or mining, you work alongside the project manager to manage project resources. Your job is to keep track of financial resources and ensure proper documentation of financial records.

You can also specialise in marketing roles and become a marketing project controller. Your job is to assist with the planning and execution of marketing campaigns. You create budgets for marketing projects and ensure the team sticks to the budget.

man discussing to an audience
man discussing to an audience

working as a project controller

Working as a project controller is a challenging and rewarding career. Each project is different, allowing for versatility in many capacities from one project to the next. Read on to learn what you can expect when you work in this field.


education and skills

If you want to become a project controller, you need solid educational qualifications in your area of interest. While a bachelor's degree in finance or business administration can land you a job as a project controller, pursuing a degree in your area of interest is important. For instance, a bachelor's degree in engineering or computer science equips you with technical knowledge for your role. In construction, get a White Card and learn about the safety standards for working in construction sites.

You also require work experience to excel in the role. It's important to learn how the industry works and gain valuable finance experience.

project controller skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of project controllers include:

  • financial acumen: as a project controller, you are responsible for the finances of a project. Your duties include managing budgets, forecasting costs and tracking expenses. Financial acumen helps you make informed decisions about the budgets of a project and manage the finances.
  • communication skills: as a project controller, you collaborate with a team of engineers and communicate with various people throughout the day. It is important to convey information clearly and listen to feedback from various stakeholders. Effective communication skills help you develop relationships with team members and keep everyone updated on the status of the project.
  • problem-solving skills: as a project controller, you deal with multiple challenges during a project. Your problem-solving skills help you find creative ways to deal with issues that arise and overcome obstacles.
  • KPI management: as a project controller, you should know how to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure the project achieves the desired outcome. You use your knowledge of KPIs to find areas of improvement.

FAQs about working as a project controller

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

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