In Pursuit of Profit
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Have you noticed a significant rise in controller job openings these days? We have! In fact, over the last year, we have worked with more companies looking to hire a financial controller than ever before.
But, why? Are controllers resigning en masse, leaving vacant roles in their wake?
No. despite all the publicity around “The Great Resignation,” existing controller jobs are largely not opening up due to turnover. Instead, they are mainly appearing at organizations where controller roles have not previously existed. Since the pandemic there has been an increased need for experienced financial leadership. More organizations are creating financial controller positions to meet these new needs. As a result, accounting recruiters began unofficially calling 2021 “The Year of the Controller” as it drew to a close. And by the time 2022 started, the moniker had stuck, carrying over to this year as well as the recruiting push continued strong.
Let’s look at what is driving this hiring trend, what should be included in a controller role, and how to hire a controller.
Today’s Fastest Growing Accounting Role
We said it a year ago, and our opinion has not changed: bringing on a controller is no longer optional for many organizations.
The pandemic brought financial uncertainty, additional work, the added demands of a remote workforce, and rampant downsizing, combining to create the perfect financial storm. In light of these conditions, a controller does the work that an owner, founder, or CEO simply does not have the bandwidth to handle any longer. As our team explains,
Small companies that previously had their CEO at the helm of financial operations have realized that they need a fulltime controller to oversee their accounting operations and staff. With the increased demands of operating during financially uncertain times, CEOs need to focus on their core role of running the company overall (pivoting and shifting as needed), while entrusting another professional with the financial management of the company.
In today’s changed business environment, a controller adds value to their organization by:
Defining a Controller Job Description
Our team explains the controller role in saying, “A Controller is the head of accountant at a company – overseeing all accounting-related activities. Controllers look for ways to improve the accuracy and efficiency of accounting operations to benefit the company’s bottom line.” Therefore, a controller should oversee:
Depending on the nature of the business, the following activities may be added to that list as well:
At smaller companies a controller will be the most senior accounting professional, reporting directly to the CEO or president, while larger companies will have a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) filling this role. Because of this fact, smaller organizations may choose to step up a controller role to have more of a CFO-type focus, entrusting their controller with forecasting, FP&A (financial planning and analysis) activities, and strategy setting. However, these functions are better suited to CFO role because they require a broader view of the company and a forward-looking approach.
For more information on the difference between the two, please reference our comprehensive guide:
Hiring a Financial Controller
Once you are sure that the role you need is that of a controller, how do you get started?
Use these steps to hire a controller that will fit your needs:
When you are ready to hire a controller, please contact us. Our experienced accounting recruiters will find the right fit for your needs. We specialize in hiring accounting and finance roles in the Pacific Northwest, working with companies of all sizes across many different verticals.