Controllership, which is also known as comptrollership, is an accounting specialty in which an individual monitors an organization’s financial standing so that the organization can correct accounting issues and file the reports that the organization is legally required to file. Controllers analyze financial documents; analyze accounting techniques; conduct audits; file reports with the appropriate government agencies; file the organization’s taxes; identify areas in which an organization’s accounting is not in compliance with standard accounting procedures and/or the accounting procedures required by law; and identify ways for an organization to bring its accounting process into compliance with standard accounting procedures and/or the accounting procedures required by law. Controllers also issue the organization’s financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, etc.); provide information to the IRS when additional information is requested for an audit or an investigation; verify financial transactions; and perform other similar tasks . Individuals who specialize in controllership are typically known as controllers or comptrollers, but some employers may refer to an individual in a controllership position as an auditor, a chief accountant, a chief accounting officer, a chief audit executive, a chief financial officer, a financial control officer, a financial manager, a treasurer, or by another similar name.
In most cases, an individual will be able to obtain a position as a controller with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an accredited accounting school or a degree in a closely related field, such as economics or finance, from an accredited school; a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA); and at least five to ten years of experience in accounting or business management. It is important to note, however, that some employers may require an individual to obtain an Accredited Business Accountant (ABA) certificate, a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certificate, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) License, or a certification for the industry in which the individual is planning to work. (For example, a controller in a bank might be required to obtain the Certified Bank Auditor (CBA) certificate for some positions.) It is also important to note that an individual may not be required to have a master’s degree for every position and that there are some controller positions that require an individual to have only a bachelor’s degree and the appropriate amount of experience (typically five to ten years of experience in accounting, business administration, business management, economics, or finance).