Business Controllers: true business partners


When considering a move into industry, many Big 4 professionals consider the role of a Business Controller.

But what does a Business Controller do exactly? And what are the skills needed to succeed? We take a closer look at what the role of a Business Controller has to offer.



A day in the life of a Business Controller

As the name implies, a Business Controller is a business and commercial minded individual, responsible for overseeing the business & financial operations of an organisation. Their first responsibility is to support the business in their various financial needs. But it’s not only about controlling. A Business Controller partners up with other functions outside of finance, almost like a consultant, in order to understand what drives the business and build business plans to identify growth opportunities.

This function is a great way to apply your analytical skills on an operational level. You can one day collaborate with the marketing department to help launch new products and drive sales and implement a more efficient IT system to respond to business needs the next day.

The role of Business Controller has undergone a very successful transformation in the past few years, evolving to include higher-value-added activities and a more strategic outlook. Some more traditional tasks will include month-end and statutory reporting, budgeting and forecasting, all of which help a company stay on track and achieve its goals.

Which skills are necessary and what are the possible evolutions?

A person in this role should have a natural interest in the business, the products, the customers, and the way everything comes together. In order to be able to challenge people in the business, strong communication and analytical skills are necessary, along with the ability to translate figures to non-financial people. Experience in reporting/financial systems (such as SAP or Hyperion) are ideal but can also be learned on the job.

The standard evolution is to over time evolve to Controlling Manager, Finance Manager or even CFO for an SME, but as Business Controllers partner a lot with people within different departments I have also seen transitions to different departments such as marketing, sales, production etcetera.

If you are looking to interact with different departments and levels of the business and want to have a greater impact on key decisions, the role of Business Controller is for you.

A Business Controller’s salary

Along with the role’s evolution, we have consequently seen salaries increase over the past few years with base salaries ranging from 79-100k EUR a year for professionals with 7-15 years of experience. Read more about Controller salaries or download our free digital salary survey tool.


Find out more

Have a look at our jobs in controlling or download your free copy of our Life after Big 4 whitepaper.


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