What Is A Financial Controller? The Role And Keys To Effectiveness

Financial controllers can be divided into different groups of accounting professionals. But, they are chiefly CPA’s with enduring regard for policy, process, and accuracy. The responsibilities of a financial controller vary extensively depending on the structure and size of the industry or organization. 

Normally, a financial controller is a firm’s lead accountant charged with the responsibility of maintaining efficient accounting processes and accurate financial statements. However, beyond that, the job can be very diverse 

What Is a Financial Controller?

A financial controller is a senior-level manager in charge of supervising a business’s daily financial operations. Often referred to as the company historian, financial controllers drive the accounting process and are accountable for the organization’s books and records. 

Financial controllers are faces of the accounting process to other divisions in the organization. They educate nonfinancial individuals and enforce company policies through a collaborative approach.  

As mentioned earlier, the roles and responsibilities of financial controllers are dependent on the size and structure of a company. Controllers in small companies are usually involved in thorough accounting tasks that are above the bookkeeper’s skill. In a midsized firm, the financial controller is charged with responsibilities such as project supervision, compliance, technology, and insurance function. In large firms, financial controllers work together with treasurers, finance managers, chief accounting officers (CAOs), and chief financial officers (CFOs) to manage the administration and finance function.  

Roles of Financial Controllers 

Financial controllers are often busy individuals who hurry in various numbers and digits. Their primary role or responsibly is closing the firm’s books in an efficient, accurate, and timely manner. They make available overall accounting oversight and are the proprietors of the financial close process. 

Financial controllers carry out many duties which varied from one company to the next like However, their general role often include; 

Authorizing invoices: They ensure invoices are appropriately coded and approved in the general ledger.

Cash flow management: They scrutinize and balance cash flows in and out of the company to meet commitments and optimize investment.

Audit liaison: They organize with external financial, compliance, and tax auditors.

Internal controls: They help to create and monitor company internal controls and policies. These controls are designed to protect the company’s assets and curb fraud.  

Budget: Financial controllers help to fully create budgets as well as incorporate historical data.

Financial strategy:  They design financial strategy, as well as opportunity forecasting and risk minimization plans. 

Compliance: Ensure compliance with relevant financial and industry regulations, local law, and tax provisions.

Analysis and Reporting: Prepare financial reports and analysis to steer decision-making.

Cost savings: Identify opportunities and efficiencies for cost reductions across the business.

Leadership: Mentor and tutor the financial and accounting staff.

Payroll: Overseas labor tax compliance and processing of payroll

External reporting: Prepare financial statements and company tax, including public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Banking: Create bank accounts and manage banking liaisons.

Stakeholder management: Advice company managers on processes based on insight into the underlying business.

Keys to Effectiveness of a Financial Controller 

Financial controllers who want to be successful must see the financial forest and every tree in it. To work effectively as a Financial controller, there’s always the need to work at a detail level. You need to understand every aspect of the transactional data and accounting process in financial statements, compliance documents, and general ledger.  

Consequently, you must also be a strategic thinker offering quick and effective solutions to the long and short-term goals of the firm. To be effective at this, these skills must be honed with time even as you gather more experience. 

Surely, a talent for numbers and an understanding of business relations are also important assets to have to perform effectively as a financial controller. Great interpersonal and communication skills will also go a long way to boost your effectiveness.


As technology evolves, the role of financial controllers also evolves to be more strategic having these professional work with C-suite executives. Lately, financial controllers are now more involved in the technological decisions of organizations. The roles of a financial controller can overwhelming so ensure you really love and want a career as a financial controller before committing yourself. 

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