Financial controllers are responsible for the daily operations in the finance departments of a business or organisation.
It is a senior position that oversees company accounts and investments, cash flow, budgeting, as well as several other duties associated with sound financial planning and compliance.
This detailed guide will outline everything you need to know about being a financial controller, including a complete job description, earning potential, qualifications, typical employers, and more.
- Financial controller job description
- How much do financial controllers earn?
- What does a financial controller do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs financial controllers?
- Which junior jobs progress to financial controller roles?
Financial controller job description
Job title | Five Star Financial Solutions
About Five Star Financial Solutions
Established in 2010, Five Star Financial Solutions is an award-winning mortgage specialist and secured lender that finds common-sense solutions to help our customers take back control of their finances.
About the role
We’re looking for an experienced financial controller to oversee the daily operations of our finance departments, including accounting, budgeting and forecasting, as well as our regulatory and financial reporting.
- Oversee all financial operations, including billing, accounting, payroll, and more.
- Prepare budgets and economic forecasts.
- Create monthly and end of year financial reports.
- Liaise with external regulators to ensure we remain 100% compliant.
- Maintain quality control over all financial transactions.
- Foster a culture of continuous improvement within all financial departments.
- Report findings on financial opportunities and risks to senior management
- Ensure all financial transactions are correctly recorded and reported
- Implement new systems to prevent errors in data collection and calculations.
Location & commitments
- Full-time role on a fixed, 12-month contract with an option to extend
- am – 5.pm. Mon-Fri — 35-hour working week.
- This role is based at our brand new office in Manchester city centre. It may involve some travel to our London office. We cover all work-related travel expenses.
- ACCA/ACA/CIMA Qualified or equivalent
- At least 5 years experience managing financial operations for a large financial services company, preferably a direct lender or mortgage specialists
- In-depth knowledge of financial services regulation, including data protection, treating customers fairly, and how to record and store financial records
- Experience of managing and allocating large budgets
- Comfortable in engaging with senior stakeholders, including directors and other board members
- An experienced report writer and forecaster with a deep understanding of financial markets
- A degree in accounting, business, or management preferred
Contact us to apply
If you’d like to become part of an exciting team with big plans for the future, then get in touch today. Send your CV and a cover letter to our HR manager, Steph Smith, at firstname.lastname@example.org
How much do financial controllers earn?
A financial controller is a senior management position. As such, it’s a well-paid role with an average salary of £47,500.
Financial controller salaries in the UK
- Low: £32,500
- Average: £47,500
- High: £57,500
Financial controller salaries will vary hugely depending on;
- The industry of the employer – Does the financial controller work for a bank, investment firm, or insurance company?
- The size of the organisation – What’s the size of the company? How big is the budget? How many people work in the accounting department?
- General salary factors – Experience and location. Is it an entry-level position? Is the role based in a global financial hub, like London?
Experienced financial controllers working for banks and other financial institutions oversee multi-million-pound budgets and hundreds of employees. These roles are at the top end of the pay scale, with opportunities to earn six-figure salaries. Entry-level positions and roles in smaller organisations with more restricted budgets are less well-paid.
These average salary figures come from job advert samples and career sites. They do not include additional benefits, such as bonuses, overtime, healthcare, or other non-financial benefits.
What does a financial controller do?
To help you understand the job description jargon, here is a breakdown of the day-to-day duties of a financial controller:
- Reporting – Produce monthly and annual reports on profits, market trends, and financial forecasts
- Budgeting – Developing budgets for marketing and advertising, recruitment, investments, training and development, research, and more
- Risk management – Implement systems that prevent errors in data collection and calculation. Work with external auditors to ensure the organisation remains compliant with government rules and regulations.
- Process review – Identify areas of improvements for accounting systems to maximise efficiency and increase profit
- People management – Supervise, manage, and motivate the financial department staff, including accountants and financial assistants
- Stakeholder management – Report to the chief financial officer (CFO). Help the CFO present reports to senior executives, stakeholders, and board members.
- Cash flow management – Tracking transactions and regularly reviewing internal reports on incoming and outgoing payments
- Quality control – Ensure all financial information is recorded, reported, and stored in a timely manner
- Financial management – Oversee and coordinate all the different financial departments, including payroll, accounting, invoicing, and billing.
- Driving growth – Identifying potential investments to increase revenue and profits.
- Regulatory compliance – Ensuring the employer complies with all financial regulatory body requirements and HRMC rules
What do financial controllers need?
Financial controllers require a range of skills, knowledge, experience, and qualifications to perform their job role effectively.
Exact requirements will vary depending on the size of the organisation and type of industry, but in general, financial controllers need the following.
Junior FC jobs will usually require the candidate to have some experience working in a finance or business role, such as accounts, payroll, or financial planning and forecasting.
Intermediate to senior FC roles will normally require candidates to have previous experience managing large budgets and in-depth knowledge of financial markets and business processes.
Financial controller skills
In addition to industry-specific skills mentioned above (like planning and budgeting), financial controllers require the following to perform their duties effectively.
- Communication: Written and verbal communication with staff, external regulators, and board directors
- Leadership: Overseeing a large number of staff in several different departments
- Organisation: Ensuring that all financial and compliance reports are filed on time and correctly
- Numeracy: performing complex calculations quickly and accurately
- Attention to detail: the ability to spot mistakes, oversights, and areas of improvement while also seeing the bigger picture
- Accounts experience: In-depth knowledge of business accounting and HMRC processes.
- Regulatory knowledge: A comprehensive understanding of financial compliance and data protection laws.
Financial controller qualifications
Formal qualifications are essential for the majority of financial controller roles, especially those at large companies and financial institutions, like banks and investment firms.
Here’s a closer look at some industry-specific qualifications.
Most roles require an undergraduate degree in accounting or another finance-related subject, including economics or business studies.
Senior roles at larger companies may ask for additional qualifications, like an MBA, as well as professional accounting awards from regulatory bodies, like ACCA.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a fully-accredited, globally recognised qualification that gives students the most up-to-date skills and knowledge to be a successful financial professional.
It takes around three years to complete. Assessment includes exams, work experience, and case studies projects. Students learn how finance and accounting functions within a business, organisational structure, business ethics, micro and macroeconomics, and more.
Once qualified, students become part of a global accountancy body. They can also put ACCA letters after their name, showing employers that they can work to the highest professional standards.
An ACCA qualification is also a pathway to professional qualifications in specialist areas, such as international financial reporting, international auditing, and digital innovation for finance.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification combines management skills, accounting, and business studies to prepare candidates for a range of senior roles in finance and business.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) runs its own ACA qualification, an internationally recognised award that can lead to more job opportunities and a higher salary.
Subject matter qualifications
Ideally, financial controllers should hold qualifications in a finance-related field. Suitable subjects include accounting, business, and economics. Qualifications in maths, marketing, and project management are also relevant to the role.
What is expected of financial controllers?
Financial controllers could be expected to commit to some or all of the following;
- Full-time hours – (35 – 40 hours per week)
- Overtime – Additional working hours may be required to meet important deadlines, like the end of year financial reporting
- Location – normally based at the employer’s office, although there might be some work from home opportunities
- Regular travel – roles in large companies with multiple offices can involve some travel to other cities. Financial controllers working for multinationals may have to travel abroad as part of their role.
Financial controller benefits
Financial controllers are part of the senior management team and tend to work for larger companies. As such, they usually receive a generous benefits package. Benefits could include:
- Bonuses – usually related to performance or financial targets
- Car allowance
- Expenses – to cover any work-related travel costs
Who employs financial controllers?
Financial controllers are an integral part of any large scale private or public organisation, due to the fact that all large organisations require dedicated management of their finances
These high-skilled professionals are always in high demand, especially in cities with a large concentration of financial service companies, like London, Birmingham, and Manchester.
Financial controllers are employed in the following sectors:
- Private investment and equity firms
- Wealth management
- Personal finance
- Leisure and entertainment
- Higher education
- Local and national government
Which junior jobs progress to financial controller roles?
In addition to graduate training programmes, several roles provide a natural progression into financial controller positions. They include:
Financial analysts use data and statistics to recommend sound business decisions, gaining highly relevant experience for the role of financial controller, who oversees a company’s financial strategy.
A company accountant collects and records financial transactions, giving them the knowledge and experience to become financial controllers.
Which senior jobs do financial controllers progress to?
Being a financial controller is an excellent job in itself, but it can also be a route to more senior management positions, including:
Finance directors craft the strategic financial vision for a company or organisation, making it the natural progression for financial controllers climbing up the career ladder.
Chief financial officer
With their knowledge of markets and investment strategies, financial controllers can progress to chief financial officer, a role which is responsible for increasing revenue and driving commercial growth in a business.
Chief executive officer
Financial controllers understand all the commercial aspects of a business, giving them the skills and knowledge for the most senior executive positions, including chief executive officer – the most senior role in any large organisation.
Financial controller job description – conclusion
A financial controller is a pivotal position within a wide range of businesses and organisations. It’s a highly-skilled, challenging, and rewarding role that’s usually in high demand across the UK’s private and public sectors.
The salary is above the national average, and there is a real opportunity to progress to the highest levels of the corporate ladder in the world’s most exciting and lucrative industries.