Though there are many routes you can take up to this point, there are certain skills required that employers will look for when deciding whether or not you are ready to make the move into the role. This list is by no means exhaustive, and some companies will expect things of a Financial Controller that others do not. As ever, the work a Financial Controller will do will depend on the size and type of business, though we have put together some pointers to consider when you are considering starting your Financial Controller job hunt.
Line Management Experience
No matter the size of the company, it would be expected that a Financial Controller would have some direct reports, and as such experience of this is a likely necessity. Companies will be looking for someone who is able to lead and motivate a team, and has previous experience of having direct reports.
Ability to communicate on a financial and non-financial level
Aside from line managing other finance members of staff, the FC will be involved with communicating with other members of staff that might not necessarily have a finance background. As such, good communications skills are a necessity as you will find yourself having to explain financial ideas to people who are unfamiliar with the technical terms involved.
Strong Technical Experience
Naturally, a Financial Controller is expected to have strong technical experience thorough a whole range of finance processes. You would have been expected to have been through year end audits, statutory accounts and possibly, depending on the size of the business, some consolidations.
A view of the bigger picture, and ideas to improve the business and impact on margins
You need to be able to see where the finance team sits in the context of the wider business, and understand how financial decisions can impact on profit margins and influence the future profitability of the business. This comes with strong financial analysis tools, which set the groundwork for being able to make suggestions and give ideas that will improve the business.
Direct client contact
There is little point in gaining the experience required to make this step up if you are unable to effectively explain that you possess the necessary skills both on your CV and at interview. You need to have a wealth of demonstrable experiences that show you are ready to move into the Financial Controller position, so it would be useful to collate your experiences and match them to a Financial Controller job description.
Undoubtedly the best way to understand the role of the Financial Controller and assess your own capabilities to make the step up is to look at real examples of Financial Controller job descriptions, which you can find here. If you want to go through any of these roles in more detail, then get in touch with one of our consultants who will be happy to talk through your experience and the roles we have available.
Are you a Financial Controller or looking to make the step up? Share your advice, experience and insights in the comments below.