Assistant Controller Job Description

In both large and small corporations, the main responsibility of an Assistant Controller is to help the controller with various accounting tasks. These tasks include preparing financial statements, evaluating budgets, monitoring accounts payable and accounts receivable, overseeing payroll processes and tracking information pertaining to company assets and income. Assistant Controllers might also ensure that accounting processes used within the company meet state and federal regulations.

The Bureau of labor Statistics forecasts 7 percent job growth for Financial Managers, which includes Assistant Controllers, through 2024.

 

Assistant Controller Duties and Responsibilities 

An Assistant Controller must perform several tasks in supporting the accounting operations of a company. We reviewed several job listings and found the following among the core Assistant Controller duties and responsibilities.

Create Financial Statements

One of the main duties of an Assistant Controller is to work with the controller to generate internal financial reports for a company. This would include creating financial statements regarding cash flow, income, taxes, earnings, inventory and investments. In addition, an Assistant Controller would also help with auditing processes.

Prepare and Evaluate Budgets

In overseeing the financial operations of a company, an Assistant Controller could be responsible for creating and maintaining budgets for several departments. Assistant Controllers would present budget reports to the controller and department heads and participate in the evaluation and adjustments, if necessary, of these budgets.

Manage Accounts Payable/Receivable

Assistant Controllers are often involved in ensuring that companies are paid and that all company expenses are paid in a timely manner. They would keep a balance sheet of what the company is paying out and what it is earning. Duties in this areas could include tracking invoices, managing collections and performing account reconciliations.

Oversee Payroll

Keeping record of payable hours and ensuring that paychecks are accurate might also fall to a company’s Assistant Controller. He/she would keep track of commissions, if applicable, and manage the payroll budget.

 

Assistant Controller Skills

It is important that an Assistant Controller have strong mathematical, organizational and written and verbal communication skills. Since they interact with controllers, department heads, auditors and other company personnel, it is essential that Assistant Controllers have the ability to work in teams. They should also be detail-oriented and be able to meet deadlines. Besides these general skills, many employers might look for potential Assistant Controller candidates to possess the following skills.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Assistant Controllers with these core skills. If you want to work as an Assistant Controller, focus on the following.

  • Preparing financial reports
  • Producing effective budgets
  • Maintaining account balances
  • Managing files and producing information for internal and external audits
  • Understanding accounting laws and regulations

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Assistant Controller toolbox and broaden your career options.

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Outlook
  • Possess active CPA designation
  • Aware of most recent upgrades to accounting software programs

 

Assistant Controller Resources

It is helpful to consult additional resources when considering a career as an Assistant Controller. Below, we have provided links to several online and print resources that will give you more insight into working as an Assistant Controller.

On the Web 

Adaptive Insights – A blog covering best practices and trends for CFOs, controllers and Assistant Controllers.

Accountemps Blog – Hosted by the Robert Half Company, this blog provides a personal insight into working in accounting and finance management.

AAFP Blog – This blog, maintained by Accounting And Financial Professionals (AAFP), covers various career practices from finding a job to getting a promotion.

Industry Groups 

Accounting And Financial Professionals (AAFP) – A networking and career enhancement organization for those working in the finance field, including Assistant Controllers.

National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) – Begun in 1915, this organization provides professional support for those responsible for financial management in state and federal government offices. Offers regulatory information, training workshops and seminars, conferences and online publications.

Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) – A professional association supporting those working in the field of finance, including Assistant Controllers. Provides networking, advocacy and career development opportunities through publications, conferences, seminars and webinars.

Books 

The New Controller Guidebook: Third Edition – An overview of the duties of a controller, from accounts payable management to payroll processing.

The Financial Controller – An extensive look at the function of a controller from the point of view of a 30-year veteran of the field.

The Essential Controller: An Introduction to What Every Financial Manager Must Know, 2nd Edition – Designed for those beginning their career as a controller, this book covers management concepts, analytical practices and accounting processes that will help beginners succeed in their position.

 

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