Controller Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Controller Do?

A Controller typically oversees the accounting department at a company where they may manage accountants, credit managers, payroll managers, tax managers, and others. They are responsible for all finance-related activities for a business. They might prepare budgets or handle billing, payroll, or taxes. Controllers must have in-depth knowledge of local and state laws and regulations and a deep understanding of economic principles, financial markets, and banking. They must be able to meet strict deadlines and need strong organizational skills. Proficiency in using computers and good communication skills are also important. 

Controllers must be familiar with GAAP standards and regulatory requirements. They should have excellent leadership skills and be familiar with budget development and audit activities. Presentation skills are essential as they typically gather, evaluate, and present financial information to executive teams and external stakeholders. An analytic mind and strong interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to translate complex financial concepts to individuals at all levels, are crucial to this role. 

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National Average Salary

Controller salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Controller is:


Controller Job Descriptions

Example 1


Serve as the outsourced Controller/CFO for multiple non-profit clients. Your responsibilities would include

  • Month-end close
  • Journal Entries
  • Audit preparation and interact with auditors
  • Bank and account reconciliations
  • Spreadsheets and analytics
  • Financial Reporting, Budgeting and Board/Management Reports
  • Assist clients with 990 review and necessary support schedules
  • Recommend/Implement/Improve standard accounting policies and procedures


  • Bachelor’s Degree required, preferably in Accounting or Finance
  • Minimum of 7 years accounting experience
  • Ability to manage multiple clients
  • Prior staff management experience
  • Strong Excel Skills
  • Experience with multiple GL packages, especially QuickBooks
  • Non-profit accounting or public accounting experience is preferred but not required
  • CPA certification is a plus
  • Passion for working with and/or supporting non-profit organizations is a plus
  • Submit customized cover letter expressing qualifications and interest for this role
  • Proof of Covid-19 vaccination required as a condition of employment

Example 2

This person works directly with the CFO in supporting the business financial analysis, cost analysis, planning and reporting needs such as project controlling tasks. Position is a hands-on, working controller for a manufacturer of capital equipment.


  • Steer internal KPI-tracking and reporting including follow-up of measures
  • Perform internal audits on key processes and signature guidelines are followed (plausibility)
  • Support supply chain steering, make-or-buy decisions, vendor selections and stock levels
  • Steer internal reporting system in collaboration with department heads including automation of reporting out of ERP- system
  • Project Controlling entailing project calculations with Applications Engineer and project cost tracking, invoicing, and change order management support
  • Implement price list model and align with quality controlling guidelines.
  • Budget controlling in collaboration with FIN and department managers
  • Ensure master data is structured and accurate (pricing, costing, clustering, min/max, and preferred vendors)
  • Support month end closing procedures and year-end-steering activities ( including reporting to Headquarters
  • Monitor and update quality related cockpit chart and directives
  • Develop and track additional cost savings opportunities and monitor progress of current initiatives
  • Support CFO and GM with special projects

Basic requirements

  • Must possess a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, Accounting, or Business Administration
  • Must have a minimum of 5+ years of financial controlling experience

Preferred qualifications

  • Controlling experience in a manufacturing environment is preferred
  • Capital equipment industry experience preferred
  • Excellent MS Office skills, specifically Excel and PowerPoint
  • Experience with Crystal Reports, SQL, Infor’s Visual Manufacturing ERP system, ADP, and other business software would also be preferred, but not required
  • Experience in project controlling desired
  • Lean/Six Sigma experience preferred
  • High attention to detail and accuracy in composing communications, data entry of project information, proofing of data, establishing priorities, and meeting deadlines
  • High level analytical, data manipulation, problem solving and organizational skills
  • Strong competency in coaching, training, and facilitation skills
  • Effective communication skills, both verbal and written, including ability to communicate effectively to the intended audience
  • Team player mentality is highly desired
  • High level of self-motivation, energy, and results orientation

Example 3


  • Develop Cost studies on historical data and create forecasting models
  • Maintain periodical reports and automated reporting to be permanently available to Cost control and other teams
  • Present insights and recommendations to top management based on in depth operational and financial analysis
  • Implement and promote improvements of current reports and Local Revenue Review report, enhancing and developing analytics and data visualization tools, and suggesting alternative sources of information
  • Record and monitor saving initiatives, estimates and monthly achievements
  • Support and engage in a team mindset of high performance, participate in permanent improvement actions, and support a team culture of innovation
  • Miscellaneous related duties or projects as assigned

Skill, experience, and education

  • Bachelor’s degree (BA) from a four-year college or university required
  • Minimum of 4-6 years work experience
  • Working knowledge of business analytics, leading cross functional projects
  • Advanced skill with Qlik Sense, Power BI or another similar business analytics software
  • Advanced skill with Microsoft Office products and data visualization
  • Advanced skills in data management
  • Ability to apply critical thinking to complex situations
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate orally and in writing with strong presentation skills
  • Advanced problem solving and analytical skills
  • Proven ability to work in team environment
  • Accepts responsibility and accountability with focus on results
  • Ability to monitor and manage priorities and work on multiple tasks concurrently
  • Master’s degree in data analytics, logistics, supply chain or similar field preferred
  • At least 2 years of related experience in shipping, Logistics or supply chain

Sample Interview Questions

  • What is your past experience working as a controller? How did you help change your company for the better?
  • What is your experience with financial reporting and budgeting?
  • Do you have a method for solving problems and making decisions in a fast-paced setting?
  • When did you identify and resolve a significant financial issue?
  • What is an example of a difficult stakeholder interaction you handled?
  • What steps do you take to remain current on industry developments and changes in financial regulations?
  • Could you tell me about a complex project you managed and how you approached it?
  • In the past, how have you managed and developed a team?
  • What is your experience with financial systems and technology?
  • What methods do you use to ensure accuracy and compliance with financial regulations?
  • In previous roles, what steps have you taken to improve financial processes and procedures?

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