Looking for the best interview questions to ask a financial controller? Look no further!
We have compiled a list of the top 40 questions to ask a financial controller, including general interview questions, background interview questions, and in-depth interview questions.
Controller interview questions are designed to test a variety of skills and competencies related to the management of financial resources. As a recruiter or interview panel member, it is important to ask interview questions that assess a candidate’s ability to understand and interpret financial data, as well as their ability to make sound financial decisions.
When interviewing candidates for a controller position, be sure to ask questions that probe into the following areas:
- Technical skills related to accounting and finance
- Understanding of financial regulations
- Ability to develop and implement financial controls
- Financial decision-making skills
- Interpersonal and communication skills
Before you interview the candidate, you should also be prepared to answer any questions they have about the company, the position, and what would be expected of them in the role.
Interview Questions To Ask A Financial Controller
The controller position may vary from one organization to the next, but it generally entails a thorough grasp of a company’s accounting operations and job functions.
Controllers are regarded as the accounting world’s technology experts, therefore they must be able to evaluate accounting software, systems, and processes.
What Does A Financial Controller Do?
The controller is in charge of an organization’s daily accounting operations, including the accounting, payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable departments. The controller also assists in directing a firm’s important financial choices and is thus critical to its financial viability.
Qualifications For A Financial Controller
A controller should have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business, but preferably an MBA. Candidates should have at least seven years of accounting experience and, depending on the position, public accounting experience is frequently needed.
Some controllers have a variety of professional qualifications, such as the CPA, chartered global management accountant (CGMA), chartered financial analyst (CFA) or certified management accountant (CMA).
In addition to the required qualifications, candidates should also be able to demonstrate the following skills:
Some of the key skills that interviewers seek include:
- Analytical skills: Controllers must be able to analyze financial data and prepare reports detailing their findings.
- Communication skills: Controllers must be able to clearly explain their findings to upper management and make recommendations based on their analysis.
- Interpersonal skills: Controllers must be able to work well with others, as they will be working closely with other members of the accounting and finance department.
- Leadership skills: Controllers must be able to lead and motivate team members in order to achieve departmental goals.
- Organizational skills: Controllers must be able to keep track of multiple projects and deadlines.
Average Salary Of A Financial Controller
Accounting professionals who reach the controller position earn above-average salaries. As of May 2019, the median annual income for a controller (listed as financial managers) was $129,890, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is simply the middle number; among those making more than this, many make much more.
Controllers at Fortune 500 firms frequently make six-figure salaries, with exceptional controllers earning more than $250,000. Small businesses typically pay less. High-ranking workers, such as controllers, may often profit from the company’s success by working for a small firm.
As of May 27, 2022, the average Controller salary in Los Angeles, CA is $266,796. The range typically falls between $221,944 and $316,640, depending on a variety of factors such as education, certifications, extra talents, and the number of years you have worked in your field.
What is the interview process like for a controller position?
The interview process for a controller position may vary depending on the organization. However, most companies will require candidates to complete an initial screening interview followed by one or more interviews with members of the senior management team. Candidates should expect to be asked questions about their experience, education, and career aspirations. In addition, candidates may also be asked to provide examples of their work in order to assess their skills and knowledge.
40 Interview Questions To Ask A Financial Controller
Here are the essential interview questions to ask a controller, broken down into three categories.
General Interview Questions
General interview questions are the bread and butter of any interview process. They help to break the ice, establish rapport and get to know the candidate on a personal level.
- What are the roles of a financial controller?
- What are the characteristics of a financial controller that will help him or her be successful?
- What makes you want to work in this industry?
- How did you decide that a career in finance was the right path for you?
- What are your long-term career aspirations as a financial controller?
- What are the biggest challenges that you see in this role?
- What do you think are the three most important qualities for a successful financial controller?
- What aspects of being a financial controller do you like the most and why?
- Describe your daily routine as a Financial Controller.
- What are the most important qualities and abilities that a controller in the financial sector requires?
- What kind of strategy and mindset is required for this job?
- How would you best distinguish your abilities as a controller, and why do you think these talents make you the ideal candidate for this position?
- Why would you want to join our team?
- Name one thing about your previous job that you didn’t enjoy or wish you could change.
- What are your most notable strengths and weaknesses?
- What credentials do you possess to work as a controller?
- How do you stay up to date on the latest controller and financial management industry?
- What are your communication style when dealing with clients and coworkers?
- How many years of experience do you have as a controller?
- How do you keep your motivation up when you’re working?
Background Interview Questions
Background interview questions are meant to help the interviewee reflect on their previous experiences and how those experiences have led them to their current situation.
- Have you ever taken the time to assist one of your coworkers to understand something or finish their work because you needed to put your own job on hold?
- How do you decide which tasks in your workflow to prioritize and make certain they’re completed on time?
- Tell me about a time when you discovered an employee’s financial report included incorrect information in it.
- What characteristics do you look for in a person who is skilled to lead or instruct a group of controllers?
- What to do if you’re working with a difficult colleague who isn’t contributing as an effective member of the team?
- Describe a time when you were able to apply a new financial methodology or technique.
- Describe the most difficult or challenging financial project you’ve completed.
- In what ways have you improved your financial decision-making? And, if you were to get the job, how would your financial knowledge develop in the firm?
- Tell me about a time when you had to use your problem-solving skills on a really tough financial project.
- What’s your approach for making sense of a complicated financial report and informing someone who needs assistance comprehending it?
In-Depth Interview Questions
In-depth interview questions are designed to assess an interviewee’s technical knowledge and their ability to apply that knowledge in a practical setting.
- What’s the first thing you should think about when developing a budget?
- How can you tell when you’ve discovered a potentially lucrative financial opportunity for your company?
- Describe some of the greatest methods for increasing a corporation’s revenue that you know of.
- What financial technologies are you familiar with and want to learn how to use?
- How do you get your department or team ready for a significant financial initiative?
- What are some of your best strategies for addressing serious compliance delays?
- What does integrity imply and why is it important in the financial management sector?
- What is the procedure for auditing financial statements?
- What procedure do you follow when you come into possession of confidential financial information?
- What accounting and financial reporting applications do you know how to operate?
Is CFO the Same As A Financial Controller?
Generally, the answer is no. A CFO (Chief Financial Officer) is a more senior role than a financial controller. A CFO is responsible for an entire organization’s financial strategy, while a controller is typically responsible for the accounting function within a company. However, in some organizations, the CFO and Controller may be the same person.
A financial controller is in charge of compliance and reporting, whereas a CFO is in charge of financial activities, such as budgeting, planning, and analysis. Controllers are frequently unable to become good CFOs because they lack the out-of-the-box thinking needed to develop financial strategy; on the other hand, CFOs frequently lack the attention to detail needed to be effective controllers.
The financial controller is in charge of preparing financial reports like income statements and balance sheets. They also keep an eye on internal controls, assist with budgeting, and to a degree, analyze financial data. Some controllers may choose the technology to be used in the company’s financial departments.
CFOs are often engaged in more strategic financial planning and analysis. A CFO will monitor the company’s progress, analyze where the business is strong or weak, and develop a strategy for improvements. While the controller is typically concerned with accurate accounting, the CFO is a financial strategist.
The Bottom Line
No matter which interview questions you ultimately decide to ask a financial controller during the interview process, remember that your goal is to assess their technical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal skills.
With this in mind, try to avoid leading questions or those that can be easily looked up online. Instead, focus on asking thoughtful questions that will give you the insights you need to determine whether or not a candidate is right for the job.
Our recruiter picks for recruiting this role:
Hirefuel is a premier boutique recruiting firm specializing in placing top talent with hyper-growth companies. Their proven track record is a testament to their passion and expertise in recruiting. As an extension of your brand, Hirefuel takes great pride in its relationships, ability to bring a personal touch, unrivaled experience, customization, and “startup speed” to talent acquisition.