How Do I Become a Controller?

ControllerIf you want to oversees a company’s financial inner-workings, you may want to become a controller. As an upper-level executive in the corporate world, a controller is responsible for controlling the budgets so that a company can remain stable financially or grow over time. Since you will play such an important role in the financial hierarchy of a private or publicly traded company, you will need to meet specific qualifications before you will be hired as a controller or promoted to the position. As you should in any field, it is important to find out about the minimum qualifications you need to meet to become a controller. Read on, and find out where you should start to work towards your goals.

Build an Academic Foundation By Earning Your Degree

Earning your degree is the first step when you are aspiring to be an mid-level or upper-level finance professional. For students who know that they want to work as a controller in the future, earning a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Accounting or Finance is ideal. These majors will help you build a strong foundation of knowledge that you can use as you are working in the field. While you may not need to earn a Master’s degree or an MBA to land an entry-level position, it can help to possess an advanced degree later on in your career as you look for promotions. You have to consider whether the degree will payoff or not before enrolling in the program.

Look for Entry-level Opportunities

You cannot expect to graduate school and be extended an offer for a controller position immediately. After you graduate, you will need to find a preparatory position that will help you get the professional experience and the observational opportunities you need to working your way up in the field. To get practical experience, it can be helpful to work as a junior accountant or auditor. You should consider which sector you would like to work in and look for openings in these sectors to get the necessary experience. This can also help you build a network of professional contacts for the future.

Gain Enough Professional Experience and Build Your Credentials

The average professional should spend about five years working in lower level positions prior to becoming eligible for a controller position. You may be able to advance into an assistant controller role during this time, which will help you build connections in the right departments. If you want to distinguish yourself in the field, you may want to consider earning your CPA by sitting for the CPA exam. Having this will help you advance further while you show your employer you have the skills necessary to be the top level executive in the corporation.

Related Resource: Become a Comptroller

If you want to become a controller, you will need to be an honest professional who is able to communicate effectively and who has a great reputation in the field. By earning your degree, applying for positions, gaining professional experience, and then working towards a credential, you can better your chances of getting noticed by your employer or other head hunters. Growth for finance managers is strong, projected at nine percent by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Start by building an academic foundation and then work so that you can become a controller.