How do I Become a Finance Controller?

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  • Written By: Simone Lawson
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 26 February 2020
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Financial controllers are responsible for supervising investment activities and strategies, preparing financial reports as well as providing accounting for an organization. They report on income and balance sheets in addition to analyzing and forecasting future earnings and expenses. To become a finance controller, it is generally recommended that candidates hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant financial field in addition to possessing some type of accounting experience. Some firms may require a finance controller to hold certain certifications or licensure as well.

To become a finance controller, it is generally advisable to first pursue a bachelor’s degree in finance, business administration or economics. The development of strong mathematical and business skills is important for those seeking work as a finance controller. Finance controllers typically hold a large amount of responsibility in their firm, so it is important that they be able to grasp abstract financial concepts as well as possess the necessary interpersonal skills required to supervise and interact with other staff members.

Obtaining an internship at a financial institution is often useful training to become a finance controller. In order to provide assurance to the employer, it is best to have as much experience as possible in the financial field. Some finance controllers work in entry-level positions at banks or accounting firms before securing higher level positions as managers or controllers.


A master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or finance held by those who wish to become a finance controller is often seen as highly desirable by employers. An MBA program offers complex training in financial strategy and leadership skills which are traits so often needed in the finance industry. Controllers often prepare regulatory reports required by national and local authorities, so familiarity with financial reporting is essential. An MBA is also useful in preparing controllers for overseeing audits and budget regulations.

Some firms may require a finance controller to hold licensure as a certified public accountant (CPA) as well. Requirements for CPA examination procedures will vary according to the region where one is employed. There are also a number of professional certifications available to those in the financial management industry.

The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute has world-wide locations and offers additional certification for investment professionals who meet certain criteria. After obtaining at least a bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience, one may be eligible for certification upon the completion of several examinations. The examination process typically requires that candidates pass a series of three exams, each increasing in its level of difficulty.


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Post 3

Can you please suggest a reputable institute for working people where we can get certified as finance controllers?

Post 2

@tolleranza - I know that some jobs do pay more if you go for extended schooling such as gaining your master's degree in a related field, for example, teacher are paid more if they have gone to get their masters degree.

However, I have not read about anyone stating in black and white that if you gain your Masters in Business Administration that the salary is higher. But as far as the salary of a financial controller you would be surprised at the range! I have seen that it can be from $48,932 a year to $129,918 a year!

It seems if you were to find a job in this field with the help of your MBA that you would easily be able to pay off your school loans.

Post 1

This is just one more position in business that I have seen that looks for or sees an Masters in Business Administration (MBA) as part of a strong resume or as something that may get you a job in that field.

What are some other jobs such as being a finance controller that are made more possible by gaining a Masters in Business Administration? I might just need to go back to school for all of the job opportunities that seem to be around for MBA graduates.

Also what does a finance controller with a MBA versus a finance controller without a MBA make a year?

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