Financial controller: what it is and its main functions

In today's changing business landscape, the role of the financial controller has become increasingly important. As the guardian of the company's finances and a key strategist, the financial controller plays a key role in the financial management and strategic planning of any company.

But do you know what exactly is a financial controller and what are his or her functions? Why is he or she so important in the structure of a company? Read on to find the answers to these questions and more!

What is a financial controller?

A financial controller is the person in charge of the design of the accounting systems, planning and management of the company. In recent years, this figure has become increasingly popular among large companies, mainly due to the growing need for financial and management information in their daily activities.

But also, and no less important, it is an essential figure to have the budget under control, due to the need to make an exhaustive analysis and monitoring of costs in order to know how to cut them.

The importance of having a financial controller in the company

The presence of a financial controller can have a significant impact on the success and stability of a company. As the person responsible for its finances, this figure not only ensures that capital is managed effectively and efficiently, but also provides valuable information for strategic decision-making.

In addition, he can also help a company identify and manage financial risks, improve profitability and increase financial efficiency. Through its analysis and recommendations, it can play a crucial role in the future direction of any company.

What education is required to become a financial controller?

To become a controller, a combination of education and experience is generally required. Most of these professionals have a degree in finance, accounting, economics, business administration or a related field. Some may also have a master's degree in business administration (MBA) or other professional training, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

In addition to formal education, financial controllers typically have several years of experience in accounting or finance, both externally and analytically. This experience can provide a solid understanding of financial and accounting principles, as well as financial practices and procedures.

Main functions of a financial controller

The main functions of the financial controller are as follows:
  • Plan and support the company's planning: he has to be able to develop the strategic planning of a company according to its business objectives. To do this, he/she must have a strategic vision of all the company's departments, in addition to knowing its financial objectives, culture and policies.
  • Measure and control the company's finances: you must also have the ability to understand where certain costs have come from, why they have arisen, what their origin was and to what extent they have helped to achieve business objectives, especially in terms of profits.
  • Filter the information to obtain only what is really relevant: it is an essential professional to collect all the information related to finance, costs, budgets and information systems (in general, all the internal data produced in the company). Then, he/she must filter all this data and present the information in order to foresee future events that may occur.
  • Coordinate fluid communication with management: this is a middle manager within the company. It channels information from the lowest employees to management, anticipating results and presenting the information in a way that allows management to anticipate strategic decisions.
  • Knowing the technological, financial, social and economic trends of the market: although this task is not really part of your daily activity, the truth is that the market is constantly changing. For this reason, keeping abreast of trends is an added value for this type of professional. A controller who uses innovative tools that are more productive will be better than one who uses traditional tools that add little or nothing to his or her work.
Qualities that a financial controller must have

An effective financial controller must possess a number of skills and qualities, including at least the following:

Strong financial knowledge: they need to have a thorough understanding of financial and accounting principles and practices.

Excellent analytical skills: must be able to analyze financial and operational data to identify trends, issues and opportunities.

Leadership skills: often, they must lead accounting and finance teams and therefore need strong leadership and management skills.

Excellent communication skills: they must be able to communicate effectively with other departments, senior management and external stakeholders.

Integrity: given the nature of their work, a financial controller must have high professional and personal ethics.

How much does a financial controller earn in Spain?

The salary of a financial controller can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, the size of the company, the level of experience of the professional and the specific responsibilities of the position.

According to Indeed, the average salary for these professionals is €33,943 gross per year. However, in cities such as Bilbao, it can easily exceed €45,000, and the most senior profiles can earn more than €75,000.

How does treasury software help a financial controller?

Treasury software can be a very useful tool for this type of professional. By automating many of the manual tasks associated with financial management, it can save time and reduce the risk of errors. It can also provide real-time data, allowing for faster and more accurate analysis and decision making.

In addition, treasury software can help improve financial transparency and compliance, which is critical within any business. By providing an auditable record of all financial transactions, it can help ensure that the company complies with financial regulations and accounting standards.