Qualifications for Financial Controllers

Qualifications for Financial Controllers

A financial controller is a company executive responsible for overseeing its financial statements, reporting, and day-to-day management. They’ll usually report directly to the CFO and are responsible for providing data insights that feed into the company’s financial forecasting and strategic decision making. A financial controller is one of the first appointments your company may make as it starts to expand or if your CFO needs support with reporting and compliance.

At FD Capital, we work with financial controllers to empower them to take the next step forward in their careers. Whether you’re recruiting a financial controller or looking for a new opportunity as a financial controller, our team is here to help. We’re sharing the skills and qualifications you’ll need to apply for a financial controller role.

Contact our team at recruitment@fdcapital.co.uk or call us on 020 3287 9501 for a no-obligation consultation. Find financial controller jobs with www.fdcapital.co.uk and explore the latest financial controller vacancies, including part-time, interim, and remote job opportunities.

What is a Financial Controller?

A financial controller is a crucial part of your management team. They’ll oversee essential responsibilities for day-to-day operations, including handling PAYE documentation, payroll management, departmental budgeting, and overseeing audits.

Alongside the CEO and CFO, a financial controller is involved in preparing the company for its future growth and development by developing a long-term financial strategy. Although often confused with the role of CFO, a financial controller sits below the CFO in the company’s hierarchy structure. While a CFO focuses on the big-picture scenarios, a financial controller focuses on the company’s accounts, cash flow, and finances.

The responsibilities of a financial controller include:

  • Analysing financial data
  • Developing growth strategies
  • Monitoring financial trends
  • Preparing regular reports, including audits
  • Overseeing risk management
  • Managing financial transactions and cash flow
  • Setting annual and departmental budgets

What Qualifications Does a Financial Controller Need?

Part-Time CFO

Most financial controllers have a degree in finance or accounting. Many will also have a master’s degree in accounting or an MBA, allowing them to specialise within an industry or niche. Alternatively, you may be able to become a financial controller without a degree if you start with another type of accounting qualification.

These qualifications can include:

  • AAT Accounting Qualification (Foundation, Intermediate, and Technician level)
  • IAB Level 3 Diploma in Accounting and Advanced Bookkeeping
  • IAB Level 3 Diploma in Small Business Financial Management
  • NVQ Level 2, 3, and 4 in Accounting

Professional Certifications:

There are other qualifications you may have as a financial controller. These additional qualifications can help your resume stand out during the recruitment process. Most financial controllers will get a formal certification from a recognised organisation, including:

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales (ICAEW)

Most of the financial controllers we work with at FD Capital are ICAEW certified. You can achieve these qualifications while working in other roles or alongside other formal education, such as a master’s degree.


Don’t underestimate the importance of experience when applying for the role of Financial Controller. You’ll need extensive experience in financial management and a proven track record in auditing, leadership, and cash flow management.

You can gain experience within junior financial roles, including as an assistant financial controller. Look out for opportunities to develop your soft skills, such as communication and problem-solving, as these are just as crucial as professional qualifications.

What Skills Does a Financial Controller Need?

A financial controller needs a wide range of skills, from specialist accounting skills to management skills and communication. While some of these skills, such as complex maths functions and forecasting can be learnt as part of your qualifications, others will be developed throughout your career.

If you aspire to be a financial controller, you’ll want to identify projects where you’ve showcased these skills. Being able to provide specific examples will make you more confident during the interview process and help you stand out against the competition. Most candidates will have over 10 years of experience in the financial industry before applying for the role of financial controller. Take advantage of any opportunity to develop these skills, particularly soft skills that can showcase your leadership potential.

A company may decide to recruit a financial controller to fill a skills gap within their organisation. These skills will be specifically listed in the job description. Financial controllers need to have the practical and strategic skills to support a company’s operations, forecasting, and future growth.

About FD Capital Recruitment

The skills a financial controller needs include:

  • Administration
  • Analytical skills and data insights
  • Attention to detail
  • Auditing experience for companies of a similar size
  • Business awareness and knowledge
  • Compliance management and reporting
  • Leadership experience
  • Time management
  • Technological experience, including relevant software
  • Interpersonal and communication skills

There are two skills you can actively develop at any stage in your financial career to prepare you for the role of financial controller.

  1. Report writing

Financial controllers spend most of their time working on analysis and preparing documentation, whether it’s for auditing, compliance, or cash flow management. You’ll learn how to write reports while gaining your financial qualifications, but this skill is one you can continue to develop as your career progresses.

In-depth reports require analytical and communication skills. You’ll need to know what information is crucial to know and decide the best way to translate this information to make it accessible to the report’s audience. Start developing this skill early in your career to stand out as a candidate when applying for a financial controller role.

  1. Management

As a financial controller, you’ll be responsible for a company’s financial management and overseeing a team of accountants and other financial professionals. Candidates will be expected to show they can deal with administrative tasks efficiently and have experience managing teams of different sizes. Take advantage of opportunities for managerial training or additional leadership responsibilities.

What is the Salary of a Financial Controller?

The salary of a Financial Controller will vary depending on the industry, location, company size, and the candidate’s experience. Candidates can earn anywhere from £55,000 to £110,000 throughout the UK.

Join FD Capital’s Financial Controller Talent Pool

FD Capital is the UK’s leading financial recruitment agency with an extensive talent pool of financial controllers, available to hire on a part-time, full-time, and interim basis, both in-house and remotely. Become part of our talent pool today by contacting our team at recruitment@fdcapital.co.uk or 020 3287 9501.

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