Does Your Controller Make $50K or $150K?

Why Do Some Controllers Make More Money?

At the most fundamental level, a controller is a key position in any company as that is the person in charge of assuring all the numbers add up. A controller is in charge of accounting, writing periodic financial reports, setting profit-producing budgets and enhancing the company’s overall monetary accuracy. While it seems simple and, essentially, homogeneous across the board, the fact is, there are some pay discrepancies not just between companies, but within companies.

Often times, controllers are left wondering why people working the same job make three to five times as much.

More Education Means More Money

First of all, controllers generally don’t just wake up one day and find themselves analyzing the future earnings and expenses of a company or organization. The fact is, the position begins in school with, in general, a minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree. Some companies may demand a master’s degree and therein would be the first clue as to why one controller may make more than another. People with higher educations are in higher demand for their expertise and further financial reward is needed to retain educated staff members.

But it’s not just a matter of degrees, but degree fields as well. Those who study accounting, finance or business have a better chance of working their way into and up within any company more easily than someone who lacks in specific studies. Any potential employee that shows a strong balance of ambition and ability is going to make more money than those that lack in drive or degrees.

Controller Skill and Experience

Key skills go beyond the degrees, however. Having a license or certification is actually required in some places, and experience, in general, is always going to be demanded — even if that means excluding fresh grads looking to get their foot in the door. Young graduates who lack in experience are, in general, going to get paid less than someone who has been with the company for a while.

Computer skills are essential to assuring the big bucks. An autonomous, self-starting, computer-literate person who is able to work long hours without stopping is most certainly going to make more than some fresh university graduate that struggles to operate basic company software.

Personality Produces Profits

Lastly, a dynamic, outgoing personality is the final piece to the puzzle. Somebody who lacks in personality, exhibits shyness or even rudeness will not excel. A controller must have the time and willingness to work long, long hours.

A controller that wants to get paid more than the rest needs to be ready make sacrifices as it is a hard industry to break into, but, once there, is well worth the wait.


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