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The functions of the financial controller

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Pocket handbook on financial control

The financial controller is the professional responsible for the company’s financial control, his/her position in the company being linked to control and supervision and thus providing a bridge between management and accounting. This post’s functions vary significantly depending on whether the company is a single company or a subsidiary or whether it is a parent organization of a company of a certain size.

The financial controller of a medium-sized company or subsidiary

In a company of these characteristics, the financial controller’s functions are basically operational, the main and most common being:

  • The functions of the financial controllerContribution at a basic level to the supervision of the preparation of the annual accounts of the company.

  • Guaranteeing compliance with both accounting and tax obligations.

  • Verification of compliance with tax objectives and the organization's standards and procedures.

  • Detection of errors, deviations and areas for improvementfrom a financial perspective.

  • Implementation of methodological and IT tools to control activity.

  • Optimizationof information systems.

  • Treasury management and supervision of the level of funds needed for common costs and investments.

  • Training and motivationof the financial and accounting teams under his/her responsibility.

  • Sending of reportsto the Senior Management of the company, subsidiary or, if applicable, Financial Director of the central or parent company.

  • Occasionally being responsible for maintainingthe relationship with the external auditors and responding to their demands.

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Functions in the central company  

The role of financial controller is significantly modified in the case of large companies with a parent company and various subsidiaries. In the event that this professional controls the central company, his/her role will be less operational and more focused on such issues as:

  • The supervision of the preparation of the individual and consolidated annual accounts as well as the financial statements of the whole Group.

  • Development and implementation of internal control.

  • Definition of thestandards and procedures of the whole company.

  • Organization and analysis of thereporting system.

  • Coordination of the Group or organization’s transversal projects, which may relate to strategy, IT, finance or accounting.

  • Control of the company’s overall financial objectives: budgets, investments, funding, etc.

  • Participation in thedefinition of the company’s general business plan. 

The job specification for this post includes higher education in Economics and/or Business Studies or an equivalent qualification, experience in audit or a control department dealing with financial, industrial or sales management being highly desirable. These professionals almost always finish their university education with an MBA or postgraduate degree in Financial Management.

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