A group financial controller is a senior professional within a company who uses business experience, accounting skills and financial acumen to ensure that accounting and reporting processes are functional and in compliance with regulations. This employee typically reports to a corporation's chief financial officer and holds a master's degree in finance or business.
A group financial controller coordinates all accounting, financial reporting and operating data analysis activities for a company. As a member of a corporation top management's team, this employee recommends strategic initiatives to increase profitability, comply with regulations and enhance a corporation's competitive standing in an industry or sector. A group financial controller also ensures that financial statements are accurate, complete and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and industry standards.
A group financial controller typically holds a master's degree in accounting, tax, audit or finance. A controller often may have a liberal arts (e.g., sociology, literature or anthropology) background coupled with a significant practical business experience. Additionally, many group financial controllers are certified public accountants (CPAs) who spent earlier parts of their careers in public accounting. Some finance or accounting scholars also become controllers after retiring from academia.
A group financial controller's total compensation includes wages as well as cash and stock options bonuses. This compensation typically depends on length of service, seniority within a firm, industry, academic training, professional credentials and company size. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys show that median wages of group financial controllers, excluding bonuses and stock options, were £38,629 in 2008, with the bottom 10 per cent earning less than £23,868 and the top 10 per cent earning more than £66,547. For controllers working for large multinationals, compensation levels increase. The same government data reveal that median wages, excluding bonuses and stock options, of group financial controllers were £64,564 in 2008, with the middle 50 per cent earning between £46,819 and £87,795.
As a senior member of a corporation's management team, a group financial controller brings significant financial acumen and strategic vision to corporate actions. A group financial controller typically reports to a company's chief financial officer or a finance director. Some employees also may report directly to the chief executive officer depending on corporate hierarchy channels. A group financial controller periodically may attend industry conferences, investor events and other senior professional gatherings to learn about developments in an industry.
A group financial controller works more than 40 hours a week and does not have the standard 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift. As a senior professional, this employee often may work late nights, early mornings or on weekends to discuss corporate strategies with other senior managers. A group financial controller also may attend regulatory meetings. For example, this employee may be invited to testify as an expert before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.