Skills Assessment for Financial Controllers

Skills Assessment for Financial Controllers

A financial controller is responsible for a company’s accounting, budgeting financial reporting and data analysis. They oversee the company’s day-to-day financial activities and work closely with the CFO to develop its strategy, ensuring it has adequate cash flow and can grow sustainably. They’re expected to manage the company’s accountants and work with department leaders to ensure risk management and that the company complies with financial regulations.

Most financial controllers will have a degree in accounting or finance and have formal qualifications from an accredited institution, such as the Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales (ICAEW). It’s not just qualifications that the right candidate needs. Companies will want to evaluate the technical and soft skills a candidate has to ensure they’re the right fit.

At FD Capital, we work with candidates and companies on both sides of the recruitment process and specialise in financial controller recruitment. Whether you’re recruiting a financial controller or looking for a new opportunity as a financial controller, our team is here to help.

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

What Skills Does a Financial Controller Need?

Financial controllers need a varied skill set that should be tested throughout the hiring process to determine whether the candidate is suitable for the role. Companies can choose how to evaluate their candidates based on their specific needs. One company may prioritise a focus on strong numeracy skills while another will test for a candidate’s ability to oversee and implement internal controls.

Responsibilities of a financial controller:

  • Coordinate financial planning budgeting, and investment within the company.
  • Oversee financial accounting, budgeting, reporting, payroll, and billing.
  • Develop and implement internal controls and processes for financial systems to ensure accurate accounting, cash management, and financial administration.

Financial Controller Qualifications

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.

Most financial controllers will get a formal certification from a recognised organisation, including the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), and Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales (ICAEW).

Our team will conduct a screening of candidates to ensure that resumes are accurate and correct.

Questions You Should Ask During a Financial Controller Interview

During the interview, your hiring manager or recruitment agency should ask a series of questions to determine a candidate’s skills in financial operations, record keeping, and risk management.

  • Explain your experience with financial forecasting and modelling.

This question will evaluate a candidate’s ability to create accurate financial forecasts and modelling. These tasks are crucial to support the decision-making of the CEO, CFO, and other C-suite executives. The best candidates will be able to identify challenges they may face and give examples of how they have navigated them.

  • Explain how you would determine financial risk and implement appropriate strategies.

Risk management is a crucial part of a financial controller’s role. If your company does not have a CFO, you’ll want to pay particular attention to a candidate’s experience with risk management strategies. Candidates should be able to provide detailed explanations of their processes for risk assessment and reporting activities.

  • Explain how you would establish and implement financial budgets.

This question will give you a general overview of the candidate’s skills and their ability to manage financial budgets. You’ll also be able to evaluate their experience, including with financial forecasting. Don’t forget to ask a candidate about what budgeting software they use and how they plan to monitor and report on budgeting activities.

Don’t Overlook Technological Skills

It’s crucial to assess a candidate’s technological skills as it will impact their day-to-day work. Software and technology are vital to ensure systems can run efficiently, including data analysis and forecasting.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems offer financial controllers a high-level overview of the company’s outgoings. It’s important for financial planning and decision-making, ensuring financial controllers can implement cost-efficiency measures and implement internal controls for regulatory compliance.

You want to elevate a candidate’s technological skills to determine their ability to help your company grow in the future. Today’s financial controllers need to be digital natives and comfortable with navigating AI and automation tools to streamline their systems.

Data analysis sits at the centre of a financial controller’s work. You can set a technical task as part of the hiring process to determine a candidate’s skills or ask for specific examples of when they’ve developed and maintained databases. Data and ERP go hand-in-hand with candidates needing to be able to prove their proficiency in both.

Potential technical tasks you can use to evaluate a candidate’s skills include building a database or spreadsheet. They will give you an insight into a candidate’s financial reporting skills and their analytical ability.

Financial Controller Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are another area you want to evaluate when interviewing a candidate. A financial controller is responsible for managing the company’s accounting tasks. They need to stay on top of the numbers and communicate with their colleagues and external stakeholders.

Financial controllers aren’t just bean counters, they need the communication skills to translate financial results and analysis to third parties. Communication skills work both ways and financial controllers need to be just as good at listening as talking. These skills can be evaluated during the interview by seeing how the candidate engages with you and responds to questioning.

You can evaluate a candidate’s soft skills during the interview, including seeing how they behave under pressure and asking questions about their managerial skills.

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Recruit a Financial Controller with FD Capital

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. Start the process of recruiting a financial controller by contacting our team at or 020 3287 9501 for a no-obligation consultation.

Join FD Capital’s Financial Controller Talent Pool

Salary trends vary for financial controllers throughout the UK, with factors like the company’s size, industry, and location determining the salary they can offer.

Are you ready to take the next steps to becoming a financial controller? 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 or 020 3287 9501.

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