Everything you need to know to hire your next FC

  • 20-06-24
  • Kent Maxwell | Richard Lloyd

In the dynamic landscape of modern business, effective financial management is paramount for success. And, at the heart of nearly every successful business is the often-unheralded role of a Financial Controller.

In this blog, we will delve into the many facets of the Financial Controller's role within a business, the skills required to excel in this position, and the impact it has on the overall success of an organisation.

The role of a Financial Controller

A Financial Controller is the guardian of a company's financial health, in short, the one responsible for overseeing and managing the organisation's financial activities. But the role extends beyond just number crunching; it involves the strategic analysis and interpretation of financial data to provide insightful recommendations to senior management.

The role can be split up into key disciplines:  

Financial Reporting and Analysis: Generating accurate and timely financial reports, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. These reports provide crucial insights into the company's financial performance and guide strategic decision-making.

Budgeting and Forecasting: Collaborating with other departments to create budgets and financial forecasts. These projections help in setting financial goals, allocating resources effectively, and identifying potential areas for cost savings.

Internal Controls and Compliance: Maintaining robust internal controls to safeguard company assets and ensure compliance with financial regulations is a critical aspect of the role. The Financial Controller establishes and enforces financial policies and procedures to mitigate risks.

Cash Management: Efficient cash flow management is essential for a company's survival and growth. The Financial Controller monitors cash inflows and outflows, manages working capital, and ensures that the company has adequate liquidity to meet its obligations.

Strategic Insights: By analysing financial data and market trends, the Financial Controller provides strategic insights to senior management. This includes identifying growth opportunities, cost-reduction strategies, and potential areas of investment.

By way of career development, the Financial Controller role is often seen as a stepping stone to a Head of Finance / CFO role. Read the traits of a successful CFO here if you want to start to develop your skills.

Skilled required for the role of FC

The role of a Financial Controller demands a diverse skill set that goes beyond financial expertise. Here are some key skills required for success in this position:

  • Financial Acumen: A deep understanding of accounting principles, financial reporting standards, and proficiency in using financial software is essential.
  • Analytical Thinking: The ability to analyse complex financial data, identify trends, and draw meaningful insights for decision-making is crucial.
  • Attention to Detail: Precision is paramount in financial management to ensure accurate reporting and compliance with regulations.
  • Leadership and Communication: Effective communication skills are vital to interact with colleagues, present financial information to non-financial stakeholders, and lead a finance team.
  • Problem Solving: Ability to address challenges creatively and develop solutions to optimise financial performance.
  • Ethical Integrity: Upholding ethical standards and maintaining confidentiality when dealing with sensitive financial information is non-negotiable.

Here is another interesting article that might assist you in understanding the additional skills for the next step in your career.

How to assess skills when interviewing

There are a couple of key ways to assess whether your candidate has the necessary hard and soft skills for the role.

Resume Experience: Financial Controllers typically begin their careers either within Audit / Business Services or in a GL-focused role where their foundational debit and credit skills are honed. The next stage of development includes preparation for month-end then finalisation of month-end, financial reporting and management reporting, and then later on consolidated and statutory reporting. This should be clearly laid out on their resume detailing their involvement with each of these processes. 

Leadership Experience: By the time many Accountants become Financial Controllers much of their day-to-day accounting will be delegated to their staff and they will have a more of review function. 

In assessing theoretical versus practical experience, the two most common tools are behavioural and situational-based questions. Behavioural interview questions ask interviewees to explain how they have dealt with actual situations in their past while situational interview questions ask interviewees to explain how they would react to hypothetical questions in the future.  


The role of a Financial Controller is one that carries significant responsibility within an organisation. Beyond being the gatekeeper of financial data, this role requires a blend of technical expertise, analytical prowess, and effective communication skills. The Financial Controller's influence extends throughout the company, impacting decision-making, risk management, compliance, and overall financial health. As businesses continue to navigate complex economic landscapes, the role of a Financial Controller remains indispensable in steering the ship towards success.

For assistance in recruiting your next Financial Controller or need some advice on your own career, please contact us at 02 8324 5640 or complete our form here and we will be in touch.