As primary support to the chief financial officer, a controller plays a crucial role in a company’s accounting and finance reporting activities. She works closely with the senior leadership team and leads day-to-day operations pertaining to accounts payable and receivable, as well as the administration of any grants.
Learning From the CFO Role
Even though a controller answers to the company CFO, she can learn a great deal about how to carry out her own duties by studying those of her supervisor. Udemy offers a series of courses called Chief Financial Officer Leadership Program that serves as an overview of the position. The program includes courses designed to help you develop your professional financial and leadership competencies.
A controller is responsible for data modeling, data location and data visualization. Udemy’s The Zen of Data series of courses will help you understand the mathematical principles behind your data. Following an introduction to stats and data, the series will teach you about practical, applied concepts relating to variance, distribution, averages, correlation and regression.
Overseeing Software Selection and Installation
As controller, you will select much of your company’s software and be in charge of its successful installation. You will also take the lead in managing relationships with software vendors and be expected to have advanced knowledge of the latest and best accounting software.
Taking Charge of Financial and Valuation Modeling
As controller, you will be in charge of all your organization’s financial and valuation modeling. The online course Financial and Valuation Modeling will teach you financial modeling and valuation in Microsoft Excel from scratch. You will learn how the procedure is conducted at investment banks by building, analyzing and interpreting several financial models from start to finish.
Other controller responsibilities include overseeing accounts, ledgers and reporting systems, maintaining internal control for revenue receipt, program budgets and actual expenditures, coordinating audit activities, regularly presenting financial reports to senior level staff and showing leadership among a variety of staff.
A good controller will take on greater responsibility as time goes on. However, if business is experiencing hard times, you can expect to be responsible for recommending some difficult financial decisions.
Most companies prefer controllers to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, business or economics.
Large corporations often have several layers of controllers, often with one for each major department.
If you have designs on becoming a CFO or even a CEO, starting as a controller will give you a broad understanding of how a business is run.
How do you see the role of controller changing in coming years?