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Salary Information for Controllers

Career News November 15, 2013

Controllers are management level workers who supervise the quality of finances from the accounting department and other avenues. They maintain accounting practices and oversee procedures, while developing new programs to help guide the business. Some of the tasks include preparing a financial report and presenting their findings.

Do not underestimate the experience factor here, as employers want proven results and textbook knowledge. Controllers can easily progress to CFOs or other high-ranking positions after proving themselves adept at handling business operations, and overseeing profit.

What to Expect on Average

The median salary for a controller is $107,000. However, with different controller positions comes different salary quotes. For example, the business unit controller might only make $111,000, while the senior accountant controller makes $77,000. An assistant controller makes approximately $69,000-$79,000. There are also division controllers, CFO controllers, and other job titles that command their own salaries based on market expectation. The highest grossing percentage (a quarter of the total) earned $146,000 per year, well above the average.

Controllers take on a heavy burden of responsibility, including balance sheets and cash flow statements, to understand clearly where a company stands and what the next set of goals and challenges might be. Their salary takes into account the size of the company, what they can afford, and in what city the company headquarters is based.

The Market Outlook for Financial Controlling

Some cities pay more because of a higher company gross, not to mention the fact that the cost of living is higher. Companies base salaries on national averages, as well as multiplier numbers. In some cases, big city controllers make 20-50 percent more simply by relocating. Lower multipliers are used in smaller cities and states that are more rural. Specialization can help to further identify you as a standout applicant; specializing in a certain industry, as in construction, information technology, retail, or real estate, can quickly show an employer your skill set and value.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for this profession will increase by nine percent as the decade closes. This is not ideal but still is evidence of growth. Therefore, the specialty controllers are always in demand because companies have immediate use for them. As the economy rebounds, there will be more regulatory changes and these petrify companies, since nobody wants to deal with the next Enron.

Entering the profession at an entry-level requires higher education. After finishing your bachelor’s degree, pursuing a master’s (MBA) degree is the next logical step up the ladder. You will stand out from the competition, particularly if you work towards certification in public accountancy, or the CPA distinction.

Now is the time to start persevering in your studies so that you can find a career that commands higher salary, and gives you the chance to prove yourself immediately. Playing your career “safely”, taking baby steps so to speak, is not going to put you in a place of authority. Finishing an accredited course, such as the UMD’s program for accountancy or finance, is what will grab attention.

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  • Topped the list as Best Online Bachelor’s Program in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report in 2019.
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