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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,” says Aline Lewy, managing consultant at Robert Walters. “But it’s not only about controlling. A Business  Controller partners up with other functions outside of finance, almost like a consultant, 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 Business Controller job 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.

The role of a Business Controller is to become a true business partner, responsible for contributing to the overall success of the organisation.


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. 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 (Chief Financial Officer) 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,” adds Aline. 

A Business Controller’s salary

Along with the role’s evolution, we have consequently seen the Business Controller salary increase over the past few years with base salaries ranging from 65-90k € a year.

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Aline Lewy

Aline Lewy | Commerce & Industry | Brussels
Phone: 0477 27 05 77

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