Controllers must have solid communication, technology, analytical and management skills. Candidates should possess knowledge of all aspects of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Public companies also require knowledge of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations and provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The role usually requires at least seven years of relevant experience and a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. Many organizations prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or professional accreditation such as certified public accountant (CPA), certified management accountant (CMA) or chartered global management accountant (CGMA). Previous experience in public accounting is highly valued.
Typical duties of a controller
- Planning, directing and coordinating all accounting operational functions
- Managing the accumulation and consolidation of all financial data necessary for an accurate accounting of consolidated business results
- Coordinating and preparing internal and external financial statements
- Coordinating activities of external auditors
- Providing management with information vital to the decision-making process
- Managing the budget process
- Assessing current accounting operations, offering recommendations for improvement and implementing new processes
- Evaluating accounting and internal control systems
- Evaluating the effectiveness of accounting software and supporting database, as needed
- Developing and monitoring business performance metrics
- Overseeing regulatory reporting, frequently including tax planning and compliance
- Hiring, training and retaining skilled accounting staff
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