Company Controller: Education Requirements and Career Info

Oct 20, 2021

Company controllers can have a variety of job responsibilities, typically within the financial side of a business. They need at least a bachelor's degree in a business-related field for entry-level positions.

Essential Information

A company controller, also known as a financial manager, is responsible for various duties such as preparing financial reports and statements as well as overseeing financial departments. In general, company controllers must hold at least a bachelor's degree in business administration, accounting, finance or management. Additionally, industry certifications may prove helpful.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in financial or business-related field; Master of Business Administration optional
Other Requirements Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or other certifications may be beneficial
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)* 15%
Median Salary (2020)* $134,180

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for a Company Controller

Relevant bachelor's degree programs often include coursework in financial management, human resources management, international business, business law and general auditing. Curricula could also cover budget analysis and forecasting. Upon completion of a bachelor's degree program, students can further their management and leadership skills through a Master of Business Administration program.


Aspiring company controllers who complete a degree program in accounting can take certification exams to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). In order to qualify for the CPA credential, students must complete a postsecondary education program, have work experience and pass an exam. Aside from becoming a CPA, controllers can pass exams to be a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), as well as a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).

In order to maintain certification, it is often required that professionals take continuing education courses. Many businesses and educational organizations offer courses and training programs controllers can take that will count toward maintaining a certification.

Career Information for Company Controllers

The majority of businesses, organizations and agencies have a company controller who tracks and maintains various financial aspects of the company. Controllers generally prepare the company's taxes, control how the budget will be spent, oversee employees who work in financial departments and set financial goals for the company.

Company controllers work very closely with other employees and need to have strong communication skills. Controllers must be fluent with multiple computer applications to run and analyze financial reports. It is important for company controllers to understand and keep up with changes to financial law that will affect the company.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that financial managers, an occupational group that includes company controllers, made a median annual salary of $134,180 as of May 2020. Job growth for financial managers and company controllers largely depends on the industry, according to the BLS, but a much faster than average increase of 15% was projected for the 2019-2029 decade.

Those who are interested in becoming a company controller should earn at least a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree will increase job opportunities. Candidates can become certified public accountants, chartered financial analysts, or certified management accountants to help improve career advancement potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), company controllers are expected to see much faster than average job growth through 2029.

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