What Is a Financial Controller?


You Will Learn.

  • What does a Financial Controller do?
  • What are the responsibilities of a Financial Controller? 
  • What qualifications does a Financial Controller need? 
  • What is a Financial Controller's salary?
  • Who employs a Financial Controller?
  • What are the progression opportunities for a Financial Controller?
  • What skills does a Financial Controller need?
  • Where are the latest Financial Controller jobs and how to apply for them?
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What Does a Financial Controller Do?

A Financial Controller is a senior-level position responsible for managing and overseeing the financial activities of a company or organisation. They play a key role in financial reporting, budgeting, and forecasting, and ensure compliance with accounting standards and regulations.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Financial Controller?

A Financial Controller establishes internal controls and manages day-to-day financial operations within a business. They provide strategic financial guidance, assess investment opportunities, and contribute to financial decision-making. 

They work closely with Audit Seniors, address compliance issues, and maintain financial integrity. Additionally, they lead and mentor finance teams, ensuring their professional development.

While working as a Financial Controller, you will be required to: 

  • Prepare accurate financial statements, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
  • Analyse financial data and provide insights on financial performance to support decision-making.
  • Ensure compliance with accounting standards, regulations, and financial reporting requirements.
  • Present financial reports to senior management and stakeholders.
  • Collaborate with departments to develop budgets and forecasts aligned with business goals.
  • Monitor and analyse budget performance, identify variances, and provide recommendations.
  • Participate in financial planning discussions and provide input on financial feasibility of projects.
  • Establish and maintain effective internal control systems to safeguard assets and mitigate financial risks.
  • Monitor compliance with financial policies and procedures.
  • Work closely with auditors for internal and external financial audits.
  • Address audit findings and implement corrective actions.
  • Oversee day-to-day financial operations, including cash management, accounts payable and receivable, and payroll.
  • Ensure accurate and timely processing of financial transactions.
  • Monitor financial data integrity and resolve any discrepancies.
  • Manage relationships with financial institutions and external vendors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Financial Controllers typically require a combination of educational qualifications and professional experience. A bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, or a related field is typically the minimum requirement. 

Professional qualifications such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), or Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) can provide a strong foundation. 

Additionally, extensive experience in financial management, accounting, and leadership positions is essential. Advanced qualifications such as an MBA or a master's degree in finance can further enhance prospects. 

The average salary of a Financial Controller in the UK varies depending on factors such as experience, qualifications, company size, and location. On average, however, a Financial Controller in the UK can expect to earn between £50,000 to £100,000 per year.

Financial Controllers can be employed by a range of organisations across various industries. They are typically found in large corporations, multinational companies, and publicly traded companies where the financial operations are complex and require dedicated management. 

Additionally, Financial Controllers may work in professional service firms, such as accounting or consulting firms, providing financial expertise to clients. They can also be employed in non-profit organisations, government agencies, or educational institutions. 

The employment of a Financial Controller depends on the size, industry, and specific financial needs of the organisation.

As a result of the expertise and experience from a Financial Controller role, you can progress into a variety of positions within leadership in finance. A key example of this would be a Chief Financial Officer, often the most senior financial position within a company. 

Alternatively, you could take up a position as a Finance Director in which you would provide financial advice and direction to a business in order to meet its financial commitments. 

What Makes a Good Financial Controller?

Key skills of a Financial Controller include: 

  • Strong knowledge of accounting principles, financial analysis, and reporting.
  • Ability to interpret financial data, perform financial modelling, and conduct variance analysis.
  • Proficiency in financial forecasting, budgeting, and cost management.
  • Experience in financial statement preparation and compliance with accounting standards.
  • Strong leadership skills to manage finance teams and collaborate with other departments.
  • Strategic thinking to contribute to financial planning and decision-making.
  • Ability to align financial goals with overall business objectives.
  • Experience in developing and implementing financial strategies and policies.
  • Proficiency in establishing internal control systems to mitigate financial risks.
  • Knowledge of regulatory compliance and adherence to financial reporting standards.
  • Experience in managing audit processes and addressing audit findings.
  • Familiarity with legal and regulatory requirements related to finance and accounting.
  • Excellent communication skills to effectively present financial information to stakeholders.
  • Ability to explain complex financial concepts in a clear and concise manner.
  • Experience in building and maintaining relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

Strong communication and leadership skills

A good Financial Controller should possess strong leadership skills to manage finance teams and collaborate with other departments, as well as communication skills to effectively present financial information to stakeholders.

Financial management and accounting experience

A Financial Controller should have extensive knowledge of financial management and accounting. They should be able to efficiently and effectively interpret financial data and contribute to financial planning and decision-making, ensuring financial plans are always aligned with overall business objectives.

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