What does the employment landscape look like for financial controllers? 

A controller, by definition, oversees an organization’s day-to-day financial operations and serves a crucial role in company reporting processes. But controllers can occupy multiple specialty areas. 

Here are some of the most common types of controllers and how prevalent these positions are in the United States.

Corporate Controller

A corporate controller oversees the accounting and financial processes at a company. They’re responsible for developing and implementing policies that guide the company’s financial decisions. A corporate controller also analyzes and interprets key financial documents, including balance sheets, income statements, cash flow, and liabilities.

While a chief financial officer (CFO) is usually responsible for implementing the corporate vision, the corporate controller focuses on the company’s internal financial processes.

Corporate Controller: Salary Range

The base salary of a corporate controller ranges from $138,166 to $181,225, with an average salary of $157,283.

How Many Corporate Controllers are in the United States?

As of 2021, there were 233,381 corporate controllers in the United States.

Financial Controller

A financial controller (or finance controller) is in charge of a company’s accounting and regulatory compliance. They’re heavily involved in a company’s bookkeeping processes, with special attention given to tax planning and reporting, auditing, insurance, and the implementation of information technology. 

Financial controllers are detail-oriented and often oversee teams to ensure the proper management of financial data.

Beyond these day-to-day needs, financial controllers frequently oversee special projects and may also work in other areas like project management or compliance.

Financial Controller: Salary Range

In the United States, financial controllers make $199,200 to $284,100 a year, and the average financial controller earns $239,400.

How Many Financial Controllers are in the United States?

There are currently 203,174 financial controllers employed in the United States.

Plant Controller

A plant controller oversees the administrative and operational needs of a factory. As such, a plant controller ensures that the factory adheres to its budget, schedule, and any local or industry regulations. Plant controllers also organize and maintain financial data, preparing statements and reports as necessary.

Typically, a plant controller will also have other duties that overlap with human resources. These duties may include staffing and operational issues as well as overseeing a smooth implementation of company policies.

Plant Controller: Salary Range

On average, plant controllers make $109,105 to $141,123 each year, with an average salary of $123,196.

How Many Plant Controllers are in the United States?

At present, there are roughly 108,892 plant controllers working in the U.S.

Assistant Controller

As the name implies, an assistant controller is responsible for providing support to the controller. Most often, this means assisting with managing, auditing, budgeting, and other detail-related tasks, all while working under the supervision of the company’s full-time controller.

Depending on the size of the organization, the assistant controller may oversee other members of the team. 

The specific day-to-day responsibilities of the assistant controller depend on the individual’s level of experience and are at the discretion of the company and senior controller.

Assistant Controller: Salary Range

The average assistant controller earns $155,530, though the actual salary can range from $136,458 to $179,022.

How Many Assistant Controllers are in the United States?

Across the United States, there are 295,295 assistant controllers working under the authority of corporate, financial, or other types of controllers.

Comptroller

A comptroller fulfills many of the responsibilities of a CFO, though most comptrollers are found working for the government, nonprofits, or educational organizations.

Like other financial employees, comptrollers are responsible for financial planning, accounting, budgeting, risk management, and developing a financial growth plan.

Comptrollers also help ensure regulatory compliance, depending on the nature of the organization. They may also implement checks and controls to guide internal processes and mitigate risk.

Comptroller: Salary Range

A typical comptroller will earn $82,351, though as of 2022, a comptroller’s salary can range from $73,625 to $92,560.

How Many Comptrollers are in the United States?

Presently, there are only 4,153 comptrollers in the United States, though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this area will grow by 8% by 2030.

Controller Salaries by Geography

As might be expected, controller salaries vary based on geography. As a general rule, urban areas pay higher salaries than suburban or rural areas. 

Below are a few reference points that provide an understanding of the current controller salary landscape:

  • U.S. (East Coast): $100,000
  • U.S. (New York): $121,130
  • U.S. (New England): $110,000
  • U.S. (Texas): $90,395
  • U.S. (Midwest): $80,000
  • U.S. (West Coast): $100,000

To be clear, the ranges given for broad regions (e.g., “West Coast”) are averages, and states like California offer salaries that exceed the regional average. As you can see, higher salaries are available in coastal regions, and the highest salaries are in the New England area.

Unity and Diversity in the Financial Field

Controllers play an important role in many organizations and can also provide a lucrative career path for motivated individuals. Diversity exists within this field as well, which may encourage people of all backgrounds to consider how they might serve in one of these professions.

2023 Predictions for Finance and AccountingWebinar Wednesday, December 7

We may not be flying to work in 2023 but there won’t be a shortage of innovation that enables Finance and Accounting teams to modernize their accounting operations. As organizations plan for continued supply chain disruptions, talent scarcity, and market uncertainty, accounting leaders are finding ways to innovate, automate, and scale processes to meet organizational demands. Hear from BlackLine’s industry specialists on the top leadership priorities and transformation trends of 2023, including Hyper-Automation, Talent Upskilling, and Decision Intelligence. 

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