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What to Look for When Hiring a Controller

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Hiring a talented controller is vital for the success of your company. The controller plays a pivotal role, overseeing tasks like budgeting, financial reporting, and compliance. Finding the right candidate for this pivotal role can be tough. It involves a thorough examination of skills, qualifications, and cultural fit. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine what you need to consider when hiring a controller.

Understanding the Role of a Controller

Before diving into the hiring process, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the controller’s role within your organization. 

Controllers are strategic financial leaders responsible for managing day-to-day accounting activities, overseeing financial reporting, and implementing effective internal controls. A strong controller should also possess excellent analytical skills, attention to detail, and the ability to interpret financial data to guide informed decision-making. 

By having a solid grasp of the controller’s multifaceted role, you can better assess the qualifications and skills necessary for the position.

Controller Qualifications and Certifications

When evaluating potential candidates, look for individuals with a solid educational background and relevant certifications. 

A bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance is often a minimum requirement, and many organizations prefer candidates with a master’s degree or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. Professional certifications such as Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) can also add significant value, showcasing a candidate’s commitment to staying current with industry standards and best practices.

Industry Experience

Industry-specific experience is a key factor when hiring a controller. Different sectors have unique financial nuances and compliance requirements. 

Look for individuals who have experience with the specific challenges and regulations that your company faces. This experience not only accelerates the onboarding process but also ensures that the controller can bring valuable insights to the table, contributing to the overall financial health of the organization.

Technological Proficiency

A competent controller should be proficient in utilizing financial software, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and other relevant technologies. Familiarity with data analytics tools is increasingly becoming a valuable asset for controllers as well.

 During the hiring process, assess a candidate’s technological proficiency and their ability to adapt to new tools and advancements in financial technology.

Effective Communication Skills

Beyond crunching numbers, a controller needs to convey complex financial information in a clear and understandable manner. 

Assess a candidate’s communication skills during the interview process, focusing not only on their ability to articulate financial concepts but also on their capacity to collaborate with cross-functional teams. A controller who can communicate financial insights effectively enhances the overall financial literacy of the organization.

Cultural Fit and Leadership Qualities

Beyond technical skills, a successful controller should align with the culture and values of your organization. 

Assess a candidate’s cultural fit by exploring their work style, attitude, and approach to teamwork. Leadership qualities are also vital, as controllers often lead finance teams and collaborate with executives to drive financial strategy. Look for candidates who exhibit leadership traits such as integrity, adaptability, and a commitment to fostering a positive and collaborative work environment.

Need Help Hiring a Controller?

Hiring a controller is a pivotal decision that directly impacts the financial health and stability of your organization. To ensure you make the right hiring decision in your search for a controller, partner with the accounting and financial recruiting experts at Burchard & Associates. We help organizations in the St. Louis area find exceptional talent for their open positions. Contact us today to learn more.

Burchard & Associates provides a personal approach to accounting and tax recruitment for St. Louis and beyond. We are ready to listen to YOU.

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