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Job description: what does a controller do?
Controllers are internal consultants of a company. You support the management in formulating the company goals, plan and control the internal processes and monitor the adherence to the goals. If the company deviates from its targets, controllers examine the reasons for this and counteract it with suitable measures. They also inform the company management about this undesirable development. Management can then define new goals. Controllers are thus an interface between strategic corporate management and the operative business areas of a company.
Controllers ensure transparency in a company. They depict the situation of a company in figures and thus provide an understanding of current events. In this way, the profitability of a company can be measured and then improved. The classic instruments of controlling include cost, performance, investment accounting, and business calculations. In addition, target / actual comparisons, business analyses, management information systems, results and balance sheet planning, cash flow calculations, and budgeting belong to control tasks.
Controlling is often referred to as internal accounting and is thus differentiated from bookkeeping and accounting – external accounting. Both areas are closely linked both technically and organizationally and cooperate with corporate finance. The controller’s work serves to provide internal information to be able to make strategic and operational decisions. On the other hand, external accounting informs the outside world about the success of a company.
Controllers often work in accounting for companies with more than 300 employees. In the case of smaller companies, the management usually takes on the controlling tasks themselves. The larger the company, the more specific and, at the same time, more diverse are the possible uses of controllers. You can also be employed directly in management. They can also find jobs in auditing, management consultancies, and banks.
Controller responsibilities and requirements
Controllers usually complete a degree with an economic background, such as business administration or industrial engineering. As a rule, they choose to focus on controlling. But lateral entrants can also become controllers with a corresponding additional qualification. This applies, for example, to graduates in the natural sciences and technology. Chemists or mechanical engineers can be trained as project controllers within their company.
For the career to start in controlling to be successful, relevant internships or study projects in this subject are usually necessary. As a result, they are usually well versed in the field of external accounting.
Suitable controllers have an affinity for numbers and are characterized by strong analytical skills. As a result, you have a high quality and cost awareness and are enthusiastic about IT. In addition, they can independently develop databases, formulate SQL queries and work with reporting tools. They operate SAP R / 3 without difficulty, and they are always open to new programs.
Controllers work in a result-oriented manner and have an eye for the essentials. They also convince with their independent and precise working style. You are open-minded, communicative, and able to work in a team. In addition, they are resilient, strong in presentations, and appear confident even in front of a company’s management. They are flexible in structuring their working hours and do not shy away from overtime if necessary. Finally, a controller is expected to adhere to the reporting deadlines.