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Difference Between Financial Controller & Finance Director

Financial controllers and finance directors have very similar positions, but finance directors tend to have a more managerial role than do financial controllers. Find out how these financial careers differ and yet are still somewhat similar.

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Comparing Financial Controllers to Finance Directors

Both financial controllers and finance directors work with the financial aspects of different companies. However, financial controllers deal mainly with reports about finances, while finance directors oversee and strategize about financial activities. Read below for more about how these careers intersect.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
Financial Controller Bachelor's degree $79,498 7% (for all financial managers)
Finance Director Bachelor's degree $110,023 7% (for all financial managers)

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Financial Controllers vs. Finance Directors

Financial controllers and finance directors are both intricately involved with how finances are managed within an organization. However, financial controllers are primarily concerned with preparing financial reports, whether summaries of expenditures or forecasting documents. Finance directors are involved in the management of financial departments and oversee financial control duties. While financial controllers and finance directors perform different roles, they are both tasked with fulfilling financial goals and objectives at many different types of companies and organizations.

Financial Controller

A financial controller makes sure that financial reports are prepared for a business or corporation. These include forms such as balance sheets or income statements as well as reports that forecast future financial situations. They are often in charge of different departments having to do with finances, such as accounting or budgeting. Financial controllers may also perform internal audits.

Job responsibilities of a financial controller include:

  • Preparing special reports for government agencies
  • Managing tax compliance
  • Reporting monthly financial data
  • Preparing and reporting variance analyses

Finance Director

Finance directors play a managerial role in a business, overseeing other finance professionals. They can be part of a team of executives whose function is to ensure the financial health of an organization, or they might meet with or provide input to such executives. They may work on developing strategies to maximize profits for an organization in the long term. Finance directors are usually responsible for financial activities at each month's end as well as at year end.

Job responsibilities of a finance director include:

  • Overseeing all audits, both internal and external
  • Working with department heads or business units
  • Developing annual budgets
  • Enforcing company rules about capital or enhancing capital

Related Careers

Anyone interested in becoming a financial controller might benefit from first considering what a retail purchasing manager does, since both are in charge of some aspect of a company's finances. Alternatively, if you are intrigued by what a finance director does, you might also consider what a certified public accountant does, since both are trained to evaluate finances.

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