A financial controller is the chief accountant for a business, company or organization. A group financial controller is the chief accountant for a specific division of a company. For instance, if a company has a U.S. division and a U.K. division, a group financial controller would exist for each of the divisions.
The group financial controller typically reports to the chief financial officer, or CFO, of the company. The responsibilities of the controller is to manage all of the accounting, financial reporting and analysis of operating data for the division of the company they are responsible for managing. For example, the U.S. financial controller would manage these activities for the U.S. portion of the company, while the financial controller for the U.K. division would handle these responsibilities for its location.
A group financial controller is part of the executive management team of the company. His or her role pertains to the accounting and financial role in the company. He or she prepares and verifies that the financial statements for the company are complete, accurate and abide by the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and any industry standards that apply to the industry the company is involved.
Because a group financial controller is a member of the executive management team of the company, someone in this role interacts with different members of the organization and the management team. While this role reports directly to the CFO or finance director, a group financial controller also tends to interact and ultimately report to the chief executive officer (CEO) of the company as well.
Primarily, the controller position responsibilities include finances and accounting for the business. The finances of the business, however, affect all of the different divisions of the company. Finances affect how the marketing department can deploy marketing campaigns and how the manufacturing division buys supplies and machinery to make the products the company sells.
The financial controller plays a pivotal role because it requires them to apply their financial knowledge to conjure up a strategic vision for the company. The strategic vision is then used to create a strategic plan that the company can use as a guide to implement the tasks requiring completion for the company to reach its goals.
In addition to the day-to-day financial and accounting responsibilities, a financial controller may also be the company representative at industry conferences, investor events and senior management professional meetings. The controller uses these opportunities for a myriad of reasons, such as attending industry conferences to learn and refine industry standards that need to be applied to the way the company manages the financials and accounting records of the business.