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Financial Controller: a great next step for Big 4 professionals

Job hunting is intimidating enough, but it can be especially confusing when you’re not sure in which direction to take your career. The most natural transition from a Big 4 into industry includes roles as Financial Controller, Business Controller and FP&A Analyst.

Which function should you go for? How do they differ? What are the skills needed to succeed? We take a closer look at what the role of a Financial Controller has to offer.

What does a Financial Controller do?

The duties of a Financial Controller revolve around ensuring the smooth running of a company’s financial department. “Working closely with financial systems and consolidating financial reports from all parts of the company, a Financial Controller will be required to understand and assure all financial records are accurate and legally compliant,” says Marie-Astrid Carlier, Associate Director at Robert Walters. 

The day-to-day job of a Financial Controller includes responsibilities such as financial reporting, managing transactions, leading the preparation of financial records, providing business plans and potentially overseeing tax and regulatory/compliance issues. Although this function may come across as routine and process driven, it can also be challenging and interesting.

Depending on the type and size of an organisation, the Financial Controller can also be responsible for treasury, tax, financial planning and growth of commercial business partnerships.

Responsible for tracking the financial health of a business, a financial controller’s duties are important because the remainder of employees in the company, from workers to executives, rely on his or her interpretation of figures to make key business decisions.

Which skills are essential, and what are the possible evolutions?

“Strong analytical skills along with knowledge of general ledger, budgeting, forecasting, accounting standards and compliance regulations are essential,” says Marie-Astrid. “Acting as the link between finance and management, you will also need to possess good interpersonal skills and have a good understanding of business and financial issues. As the finance director’s right hand, it is quite natural to over time evolve into a role such as finance director or group financial controller within a large corporation."

The salary of a Financial Controller has been increasing year on year, with base salaries ranging anywhere from 60k to 85k € a year.

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Marie-Astrid Carlier

Associate Director | Commerce & Industry | Brussels
Phone: 0491 14 62 01

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