Company Controller: Education Requirements and Career Info
A company controller, also known as a financial manager, is responsible for various financial duties. They are often in charge of preparing financial reports and statements, as well as overseeing financial departments. In general, company controllers must hold at least a bachelor's degree in business administration or finance.
Education Requirements for a Company Controller
Since controllers are responsible for handling financial reports, they must typically complete a bachelor's degree program in accounting, finance, business administration or management. Coursework found in the programs may include financial management, human resources management, international business, business law and general auditing. The curriculum also covers budget analysis and forecasting. Upon completion of a bachelor's degree program, student can further their management and leadership skills through a Master of Business Administration program.
Aspiring company controllers who complete a degree program in accounting can take certification exams to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). In order to qualify for the CPA credential, students must complete a postsecondary education program, work experience and pass an exam. Aside from becoming a CPA, controllers can pass exams to be a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), as well as a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).
In order to maintain a certification, it is often required that professional take continuing education courses. Many businesses and educational organizations offer courses and training programs that controllers can take which will count toward maintaining a certification.
Career Information for Company Controllers
The majority of businesses, organizations and agencies have a company controller who tracks and maintains various financial aspects of the company. Controllers generally prepare the company's taxes, control how the budget will be spent, oversee employees who work in financial departments and set financial goals for the company.
Company controllers work very closely with other employees and need to have strong communication skills. Controllers must be fluent with multiple computer applications to run and analyze financial reports. It is important for company controllers to understand and keep up with changes to financial law that will affect the company.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial managers are expected to see an eight percent increase in employment opportunities from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). Additionally, the BLS reported median annual wages of $101,190 as of May 2009 for financial controllers.
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