What does a controller do?

As the leader of a company's accounting department, you'll be in charge of monitoring the financial condition of a corporation. These professionals maintain, analyze, and manage payroll, budgets, and financial statements. Controllers also oversee accounts receivable, accounts payable, and grants administration. Controllers work closely with different program leaders and staff members to educate them about accounting, finance, and procedures. They also teach them how to explore the finance function to support program operations. 

General responsibilities

Controllers ensure companies have relevant procedures and systems to conduct flawless audits and support effective program implementations. They also supervise the accounting team and handle tax compliance issues. Financial controllers also partner with CFOs, human resources (HR) and information technology (IT) staff, and senior leadership to better integrate and enhance finance, IT, and HR functions.

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What is the average salary of a controller?

According to Glassdoor, the average annual pay for controllers in the United States is $104,365. Market information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows the median annual salary for financial managers, a similar position, is at $131,710. However, there is a wide range in controllers' salaries based on company size. Corporate financial controllers find themselves on the higher end of the salary range, while assistant financial controllers and those working in financial-light and smaller firms are on the lower end of the scale. Many factors determine controller salaries and compensation packages. Formal training and experience can make a significant difference in your compensation package. Your salary will also vary depending on your current location, seniority, and industry.


What industries hire controllers?

Controllers oversee the accounting department and guide the strategic financial decisions of a company. This position is therefore integral to every organization's financial growth. Some of the industries that hire financial controllers include:

  • Manufacturers
  • Consultant firms
  • Investment banks
  • Public sector organizations
  • Insurance firms
  • Private equity firms
  • Higher education institutions
  • Telecommunication companies
  • Pharmaceutical firms
  • Hedge funds
  • Hospitality sector
  • Software development companies
  • Healthcare organizations

Working as a controller

Working as a controller involves collaborating with company managers to create budgets for the organization on a quarterly or a monthly basis. You will also monitor the actual business performance versus the budget and report any variances to the management. Expect to work closely with different department managers across the organization and external parties such as customers and vendors. You will also develop cash flow projections and financial models and analyze results from the models to make the necessary recommendations for future business activities such as new product launches and marketing campaigns.


What is the career outlook for a controller?

According to the BLS, financial controller positions will grow by approximately 7% by 2030. That means around 96,000 new controller jobs will become available over the next decade. Most of these jobs will become available as the current job holders retire or leave the profession. As you gain more experience as a financial controller, you'll encounter better opportunities to advance your career. Experienced financial controllers can advance to the chief financial officer position.

What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a controller? 

If you're looking for a job as a controller, Spherion can help. Due to its place among the leading staffing companies in the United States, Spherion can connect you with various businesses. Here are some of the amazing benefits you'll enjoy when working with Spherion:

  • Training opportunities and resources to sharpen your skills
  • Access to a wide range of jobs within your geographical area
  • Temporary and permanent working contracts
  • Quick interviewing process
  • Flexible working schedules
  • Weekly payment options
  • A contact person to help you during your job search
  • Access to the most sought-after jobs in your location

What education do you need as a controller?

To become a financial controller, you need an undergraduate degree in finance or an accounting-related field. Many organizations, however, prefer individuals with a master's degree in a relevant field. These advanced academic programs assist students in learning financial analysis techniques and software and developing analytical skills.



Controllers analyze trends and data and make important finance-related decisions to help organizations grow. If you are considering a career as a financial controller, invest in a solid accounting and financial education and relevant accreditations to set yourself up for success. The following frequently asked questions about controllers will also help you understand more about this profession. 

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