Life as a financial controller

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The financial controller is a core financial position within a commercial organisation, be it a SME or multinational company, and almost all companies will employ a professional in this capacity. It is a popular role amongst accounting & finance professionals, and candidates with strong experience are highly sought after by employers.

 

 

The truth about being a Financial Controller

A financial controller role may come across as routine and process driven, particularly for tasks such as month-end or statutory reporting. However, it can also be challenging and interesting. Reporting is just a small part of the role, and a financial controller can be responsible for treasury, tax, financial planning and growing of commercial business partnerships, just to name a few.

To get the job

Employers look at experienced professionals in a senior position within a finance team, and you will also have to be technically astute with sound knowledge of financial fundamentals. Knowledge of general ledger, budgeting, forecasting, accounting standards and compliance regulations are essential, and you will have to demonstrate the ability to see not only the micro, but also macro side of things. In Hong Kong, potential employees with strong grasp of Hong Kong listing/GAAP requirements are also highly valued.

Getting ahead of competition

Given the competitive nature of the market, a classic accounting background with the Big 4 and commercial finance experience are highly regarded and preferred by most employers. Three to four years of auditing experience with the Big 4 will give you a huge head start to moving into an all-rounded financial reporting role, and eventually, a financial controller role. Candidates without the necessary qualifications should consider acquiring accreditation from a professional body, or accumulate substantial experiences in a commercial environment.

Employers look at experienced professionals in a senior position within a finance team, and you will also have to be technically astute with sound knowledge of financial fundamentals.

Job responsibilities and progression

Finance controllers often move on to become finance directors, CFOs, or even a COO position. The core responsibilities of the position will include financial reporting, business budgeting and forecasting, business development projects, treasury management, risk evaluation and business analysis. In Hong Kong, particularly listed companies, statutory reporting and analysis will also form a big part of a financial controller’s job. Overall, financial controllers remain highly sought-after in Asia.  

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