Accounting Employment Insights: Financial Controller

Hunter Campbell’s Accounting Employment Insights Series offers a comprehensive look into roles within the accounting sector. Leveraging our specialised Accounting recruitment market knowledge, we provide valuable insights into the roles currently in demand, shedding light on market trends, salaries, and sought-after skills. In today’s article, Sam Pritchard, Senior Consultant at Hunter Campbell shares his expertise on the role of Financial Controller a pivotal position responsible for overseeing various financial aspects critical to the success and stability of an organisation.

What does a Financial Controller do?

Financial Controllers are tasked with an array of duties aimed at ensuring the financial health and compliance of an organisation.

Primary responsibilities are:

  • Leading the month-end financial closure process
  • Overseeing the annual audit process to ensure accuracy and compliance
  • Managing statutory reporting obligations for half-year and annual cycles
  • Facilitating board and management reporting, providing crucial financial insights
  • Supervising transactional accounting functions such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, and credit control
  • Safeguarding the integrity and functionality of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system
  • Conducting cash flow forecasting and analysis to support strategic decision-making
  • Directing and managing the group finance team, including finance managers, financial and management accountants, and potentially systems and transactional accountants
  • In certain scenarios, Financial Controllers may also spearhead additional tasks such as financial planning and analysis (FP&A), tax compliance, and treasury and foreign exchange (FX) management

Typical KPI’s of  Financial Controller

The effectiveness of a Financial Controller is measured through various KPIs, reflecting the efficiency and accuracy of financial operations.

Common KPIs for Financial Controllers include:

  • Timeliness and accuracy of month-end financial processes
  • Accurate financial reporting
  • Continuous process improvement initiatives aimed at streamlining operations and enhancing data reliability
  • Seamless execution of audit processes
  • Establishment of strong relationships with external stakeholders including banks, auditors, and IT specialists
  • Effective risk management practices, ensuring minimal surprises for the Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Implementation of cost control measures to optimise financial performance
  • Maintenance of a strong internal control environment
  • Adherence to regulatory requirements
  • Maintenance of a healthy and stable cash flow

Key skills and qualifications required

The role of a Financial Controller demands a blend of technical expertise and managerial acumen. Key skills and qualifications sought after in Financial Controllers include:

  • Professional certification as a Chartered Accountant (CA/CPA or equivalent), typically acquired through a background in accountancy practice
  • Proven experience in statutory financial and management reporting
  • Strong technical accounting knowledge to navigate complex financial landscapes
  • Demonstrated experience in team management
  • Proficiency in systems and information technology (IT) skills, essential for leveraging financial systems effectively

In addition to technical competencies, success as a Financial Controller also hinges on softer skills including:

  • Attention to detail to ensure precision in financial operations
  • Integrity and trustworthiness, are fundamental for maintaining financial transparency and compliance
  • Resilience and energy to navigate dynamic business environments
  • Empathetic leadership skills to foster a collaborative and motivated team culture

Recruitment Forecast and Career Prospects

Recruitment trends indicate a steady demand for Financial Controllers, underscoring the critical nature of this role regardless of economic fluctuations. Financial Controllers have a broader scope for change as it tends to be easier to move across sectors as a Financial Controller than in a commercial Finance / FP&A role. Typically, candidates transition from Financial Controller roles to higher positions such as CFO, Head of Finance, or General Manager of Finance after gaining experience in multiple substantial Financial Controller roles.

 The trajectory to a Financial Controller role commonly involves a structured career path:

  • Audit or practice training followed by 2-3 years as a financial or management accountant
  • Progression to roles such as Senior Financial Accountant/Management Accountant and Finance Manager
  • Advancement to the Financial Controller position after accumulating 5-7 years of relevant experience

Salary Guide

Salaries for Financial Controllers vary based on company size and industry, with the following indicative salary ranges:

Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs): $160,000 – $200,000.

Mid-cap companies: $180,000 – $220,000.

Large Corporations: $200,000 – $260,000.

Recent roles placed by Hunter Campbell

  • Summerset – Financial Controller
  • Walter & Wild – Group Financial Controller
  • Sanford – Group Financial Controller
  • Kotahi Logistics – Financial Controller
  • Squirrel – Financial Controller
  • EBOS Group – Group Financial Controller
  • BMW Financial Services – NZ Financial Controller

If you are looking to hire a Financial Controller, or looking for your next opportunity in this space, get in touch with Sam to chat through these insights and available opportunities.

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