Controllership Degree Program Information by Level

A master's degree related to business administration, finance or accounting is generally required for a position as a controllership. Additionally, most controllers have significant professional experience and certification as a certified public accountant (CPA).

Essential Information

A controllership is usually the senior financial reporting and accounting position within an organization. Master's programs in business administration provide students with a comprehensive foundation in business management, though students may also seek graduate degrees in finance or accounting. MBA programs may be open to students who do not have a business or accounting background, but admissions are often competitive. General requirements include a satisfactory undergraduate GPA and solid GMAT scores. Course prerequisites include statistics and economics, plus courses in the liberal arts and sciences. Some programs take 2-3 years to complete.

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Controllership Degree Information

To obtain a controllership position, applicants will need a concentration in accounting and take several additional courses in financial and managerial accounting, auditing, business law and taxation. The coursework also prepares for the CPA examination. The topics of domestic and international financial management are included in the curriculum in addition to core business administration courses in areas of accounting, management and marketing. Other topics include the following:

  • Accounting theory
  • Auditing
  • International finance
  • Investment law
  • Business contracts
  • Information technology

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth is expected to increase 7% for financial managers during the 2014-2024 decade ( Due to the level of education and professional experience required for controllership positions, salaries are quite high. The BLS reports a median salary of $117,990 as of May 2015 for financial managers.

Continuing Education

Certification as a CPA is generally expected for those within the accounting profession. The American Institute of CPAs administers the Uniform CPA examination to applicants. Most graduates of MBA programs in accounting have met the number of hours of education required to complete the process; however, each state has varying requirements. Upon completion of the master's degree and certification, those seeking a controller position generally must obtain several years of professional experience in accounting management and functions.

To prepare for positions as a controller, students should pursue graduate degrees in business, finance, and accounting, as well as seek professional certification, in order to qualify for jobs in this lucrative field.

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