Controller Career Information

A controller career is one of the most desirable in the business world today. A controller is typically one of the highest positions that is available in any company. Here are the basics of being a controller and what you should expect from the job.

Becoming a Controller

In order to become a controller, you will have to go through a substantial education process. Getting this type of job will require you to beat out a lot of other competition. Therefore, you need to get every advantage you can by getting a good education. You need to shoot for at least a master's degree in a relevant business field. You might want to get a degree in finance, accounting, or business administration. If you go for a PhD in one of these disciplines, it would improve your chances as well.

Once you have completed the education process, you will most likely have to work your way up from an entry-level position. Most controllers start out as accountants or as some other lower management position. Most of the time, you can move up to the position of assistant controller and then eventually, the position of controller.

Basic Tasks

A controller oversees a variety of different aspects of a business. Controllers are in charge of setting financial policies like choosing a particular method of accounting for a business. Controllers will implement their policies and make sure that they are adhered to by employees. Controllers are ultimately responsible for keeping detailed financial records for a business. They will typically set up measures of control that help to ensure the integrity of the business.

Controllers are also responsible for explaining financial policies to the employees below them. Controllers will also be in charge of large equipment purchases or other expenditures for the company. Many large corporations will also use some of their profits to make investments. The controller will ultimately be in charge of choosing the investment strategy for the company. Comptrollers also have to set budgets for certain departments within the company. While lower-level managers may help with these responsibilities, the controller is the one that is ultimately held responsible.

Work Schedule

Most controllers will try to stick to a regular 40 hour work week. Since they typically work for corporations or financial institutions, they will be in the office on Monday through Friday. However, this job can be very demanding and require you to work much more than 40 hours on occasion.


The median salary of a controller is approximately $170,000 per year. This figure can vary widely depending on how large of a company they work for.

Opportunities for Advancement

The position of controller is considered to be one of the highest positions that you can get to in a company. It is typically only below the CEO or CFO in a company. Therefore, eventually you could work your way up to one of those positions from the role of controller. Many times, other corporations will also recruit controllers for executive positions in their companies.