How to become a management controller?

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What is the job of management controller, what are the studies and qualities necessary to achieve it?
In broad terms, the management controller must define budget forecasts for all internal services,
develop management tools, define preventive actions and perform regular economic analyses.
The accounting and finance oriented trainings are to be preferred, more details in our article.

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What is a management controller?

The job of the management controller consists of managing the economy of a company by defining a clear direction and objectives, in order to ensure maximum profitability for the company. Thus, among his many missions, the management controller must define budget forecasts for all internal services, develop management tools, define preventive actions and perform regular economic analyses. He or she is often called upon to develop financial strategies but may perform different functions, particularly in personnel management or administration.

He also assists the company’s managers in their strategy and financial choices. He/she operates independently within the accounting department and must fulfill a specific roadmap to perform his/her duties. In short, its role is multiple:

  • Put in place the necessary tools to control the management of the company
  • Define general budget forecasts for the company or a specific department
  • Resolve discrepancies between forecasts and the company’s financial reality
  • Gather financial data from the company’s general management in order to analyze them
  • Write reports about the company’s activity.

Its missions are diversified and very important for the good financial health of the company.

The position of “CDG” is one of the jobs that are recruiting in the finance sector.

How to become a management controller? What studies to do?

In general, studies in accounting, management or finance are necessary.

To become a management controller, it is first necessary to obtain a degree equivalent to Bac +2. Generally speaking, we can mention the BTS in accounting and management, or the DUT in business and administration management (GEA).

The BTS in accounting and management is offered in many public schools and high schools. The education is professional as well as general. Thus, at the end of the training, the diploma gives the student the ability to perform accounting calculations related to the commercial operations of a company.

The DUT also takes place over 2 years. If the first year is general, the second is much more technical. It targets the management of organizations as well as the various tools necessary for accounting management.

At the end of these two courses, the student can access positions as an entry-level management controller or assistant management controller in small to medium-sized companies.

A management controller is really considered as qualified after 5 years of study after the Bac. There are several higher degrees, especially from business schools, to reach the level necessary to enter the profession.

INSEEC, for example, offers a Bachelor’s degree in Finance (BAC+3) to be completed with a Master of Science in Audit and Management Control. These two programs are part of the INSEEC finance division and can be completed in alternating years.

This program offers students an education adapted to the expectations of companies in the field of management control and internal audit.

In the course of their education, students must be able to make decisions based on in-depth analysis of financial statements. He/she is also required to master the right tools to evaluate the performance of a management service. The student will be required to develop numerous skills, particularly writing and technical skills, in order to carry out financial analyses and strategic recommendations.

After studying finance, other careers are also possible.

Why become a management controller?

There are many reasons to work as a management controller. The position has many advantages that make it an interesting choice of orientation.

The management controller holds a central position at the heart of the company. Indispensable to the financial health of a company, many services depend on its functions and its analytical capacity. Thus, the influence he has gives him great responsibilities. Both autonomous and in close contact with the employees, he works in collaboration with departments that are very different from each other, such as marketing, accounting, human resources… It is impossible to sink into monotony as he blends in with the various administrative and financial teams.

The exchange and the analytical sense are really at the heart of the functions of the management controller. His sense of contact to gather the necessary information gives the position a constantly renewed interest. This is why the position requires great human and relational qualities. Many cite the notion of “knowing how to be” to be effective in this role.

Finally, the position of management controller requires adaptability and flexibility. This is an all-encompassing role that falls to the management controller. The multiplicity of functions ensures that the position has a wide variety of actions and missions that are particularly different from one another. The contact with the various departments is often offset by numerous trips to the customer.

What are the qualities required of a management controller?

The management controller has relatively complex missions. The latter must be very rigorous. He is required to handle numbers with great dexterity and a confident method of analysis. Thus, his sense of calculation and quantification are at the heart of his functions.

Because of his multi-hat status, the management controller has to come into contact with many different departments at the heart of the company. His/her interpersonal skills must be sufficiently developed to collaborate smoothly with staff members. His diplomacy is matched only by his strength of character, which allows him to make easy contact as well as to act firmly when it comes to getting numbers and answers. The management controller must have a taste for human contact.

Because of his or her position, the controller has access to all of a company’s confidential data. Thus, in order to protect the balance of a structure, the greatest fidelity and reliability is required in the exercise of its functions. The greatest danger is that the data will end up in the hands of a competing company. His position is extremely sensitive and the utmost care is required.

Finally, depending on the work period, the working hours can vary greatly.

If most of the time he works in regulated niches, certain periods can lead him to exceed his usual quota, in particular when the company enters a period of accounting balance. It can then be under a lot of stress. The Controller must be able to withstand the pressure and endure when occasional workloads arise.

What is the salary of a management controller?

The salary of a management controller varies greatly depending on the size of the company he or she works for. According to the recruitment firm Hays, a management controller earns on average between 2,667 euros and 5,833 euros gross per month, i.e. a median salary of 4,250 euros gross per month.

A junior management controller starts at around 2500 euros gross per month and is increased according to his or her evolution within the company.

Do you have any other questions about finance, work-study or the degree? Our Frequently Asked Questions surely have the answer!

Updated 17 May 2023