Become a Financial Controller

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The job of controller is exciting. This is because a financial controller is more than an accountant; this person is an investigative corporate officer who's the watchdog of the company.  As a matter of fact, the head controller of a corporation is one of the highest positions in the corporation.

To become a financial controller you need a college degree in finance or accounting. You are going to also have to get an MBA or a CPA. According to “e How Money,” you want to do this early in your career as the position requires a high performance level on your job, and you don’t want the extra work load of these pursuits to drain your performance level.

Another thing in getting a job like this is that you need to put in the time in each phase of the ladder to get to the top. You need real life experience. A government auditor is good place to start because so much of what big companies do is with government contracts. It gives you a window into the government side, the skill's are transferable and you will meet lots of people to do good old fashioned networking.

The contacts of your youth are good for mutual advancement. Remember though that government accounting is not the same as private accounting. As I have written before, the U.S. is not broke. The government lists no assists and doesn’t make a profit so it's fiances appear at times bad.

You can work your way up in the government and have a career path also that's in the same vein as a corporate controller though the pay scale's less on the way up. The titles may vary with top positions being inspector general or comptroller. Of course, even if you decide to retire with a government pension, you're still young enough to pursue a corporate career.

Another track to follow, and the one most people use, is working in the corporate world. Here, you want to find jobs that you can use as a stepping stone to the controller job. Always take jobs here that move you up or laterally with no harm to your career. There's no need to go into specific finance jobs that will move you along, everyone's different and will not fit into a mold. You really need an MBA or CPA to get these higher level jobs for advancement anyway and once you have these, you'll certainly know more about which stepping stone is good than a blog can provide.

One thing that's good to do is finding a person who is above you who can mentor you about this career choice, an old hand you can trust. Tell him or her your dreams and let them know that you want to learn all you that can help you when you are ready for such a job. A story about Teddy Roosevelt is good to remember too. Teddy had a job as the police commissioner in New York City and a friend joked that the future President could use the job as a stepping stone for the Presidency. Roosevelt exploded in anger.

Later he apologized to his friend. What if he did what's politically popular today (because he did want to be President he admitted) only to have it judged to be the wrong act later when he ran for President. He said; therefore, he must always do right.

Moral: You can climb to the top and keep your soul. This advice is good because character's important if you want to be a controller whether for the government or a corporation.

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By Jeffrey Ruzicka

Jeffrey Ruzicka is a retired executive of a small company that specializes in industrial water treatment. He lives happily with his wife in Western Pennsylvania and is a contributing writer to

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  • Jeffrey Ruzicka
    Jeffrey Ruzicka
    Thank you : )
  • Phillip M
    Phillip M
    very well written and well-spoken...

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