Business controllers oversee preparation of an organization's financial reports. The controller is a type of financial manager that ensures a company or organization is compliant with reporting requirements and that financial statements accurately represent the organization's finances. Controllers manage the accounting and auditing processes in an organization as well as corporate budgets. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median earnings for financial managers, including controllers, was $99,330 in May 2010. The position requires certain levels of education, experience and skills.
The minimum education for a financial manager such as a controller is a bachelor’s degree. Some employers require controllers have a minimum of a master’s degree in finance, economics or business administration. Controllers may also earn the certified public accountant credential to perform public accounting duties such as auditing and the preparation of financial reports. State boards of public accountancy provide the certified public accountant credential to applicants who meet the requirements for education and experience and pass the Uniform CPA Examination. Some states require completion of 150 semester hours when earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting to qualify for the CPA designation.
Employers may seek candidates with years of experience in accounting and finance for the position of controller. A position in accounting preparing financial reports, auditing and preparing business taxes can provide experience for those seeking a career as a business controller. Management experience directing the activities of others also prepares the individual for a career as a company controller.
Communication skills are necessary in the position to direct the activities of finance employees and explain complicated financial information. The controller must have analytical skills to identify and correct financial mistakes and problems. A controller must remain current on financial procedures and business regulations to ensure the corporation remains compliant with financial laws.
Candidates for a controller position should maintain the certified public accountant or certified management accountant credential. The Institute of Management Accountants provides the certified management accountant credential to applicants who meet the educational and experience requirements and pass an examination. Both credentials require the controller to complete continuing education courses to maintain the designation.