The world of finance can get into serious trouble if the accounts aren't looked after properly.
So if you find numbers so easy you crunch them in your sleep and you're looking to step up in the financial sector, then a career as a financial controller awaits you...
So, what will I actually be doing?
The role of a financial controller involves overseeing the accounts department and making sure everything runs smoothly.
While you’ll have a team of accountants to carry out the more administrative tasks, you’ll be ensuring smooth running of the company’s financial department and your daily to-do list will feature some or all of the following:
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The nitty gritty
You’ll be expected to work 9-5, Monday to Friday – plus extra hours when the big deadlines are looming. While the role is office based, controllers will spend plenty of time in meetings or visiting other departments so you won't always be stuck behind your desk.
Many financial controllers have their eye on the top job of financial director but this role can open doors in a variety of managerial positions, including chief executive.
Money, money, money
Starting salaries for qualified financial controllers are healthy for your wallet, at around £28k to £45k. With several years experience you can expect to be bringing in as much as £50k to £100k.
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The good points...
Do this job well and you’ll have lots of responsibility, plenty of respect and a very healthy annual income.
...and the bad
If the business takes a downturn, you may find yourself in the position of making some difficult financial decisions.
It's also not a great career if you're looking for flexible working, financial controllers are expected to take on a considerable amount of responsibility, so part-time roles are unusual.
Is there study involved?
As a senior-level role with bags of responsibility, financial controllers usually have plenty of experience in finance and management. You will need a degree in a related subject such as maths, economics or business, plus applicants will need to have completed their accountancy qualifications from one of the following bodies:
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
The Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) also run training for qualified accountants looking to move into more managerial roles.
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OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
You'll need to be comfortable balancing hands-on financial management with making senior-level decisions as part of this job.
Acting as the link between the finance department and senior management, you need to be a good communicator, and it also helps if you have:
- Lots of energy and motivation
- Multitasking skills
- Good understanding of business and financial issues
- The ability to work to tight deadlines
This is a position for an ambitious number cruncher and is just one step away from the ultimate position of financial director.