Assistant Controller Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

An Assistant Controller, or Assistant Accounts Controller, supports the Controller by examining and analyzing accounting records of organizations (or individuals). They are responsible for ensuring accuracy in data and reporting, and compliance with established accounting standards and procedures. Their duties may vary depending on the size of the organization. However, Assistant Controllers will typically be expected to prepare and consolidate financial statements, establish and maintain internal controls, and assist the Controller with month-end and year-end processes, among other duties.

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Assistant Controller duties and responsibilities

Establishing and maintaining internal controls and accounting best practices is one of the top responsibilities of an Assistant Controller. Whilst providing supervision to general accounting departments, an Assistant Controller will also assist the Controller – particularly with month-end and year-end preparations. An Assistant Controller is responsible for providing monthly, quarterly, and year-end analyses and coordinating or assisting with the budget and forecasting process. An Assistant Controller’s duties and responsibilities may include:

  • Examining and analyzing accounting and financial records, documents, and systems to ensure accuracy and compliance with established accounting standards, procedures, and internal controls
  • Managing or assisting) with both internal and external audits
  • Preparing detailed reports on audit outcomes and providing recommendations to improve accounting and management practices within the company
  • Developing and implementing accounting policies and procedures to ensure accurate financial reporting
  • Providing leadership, training, and development to finance and accounting staff
  • Researching accounting issues where necessary for compliance with generally accepted compliance principles
  • Overseeing and executing payroll functions and petty cash
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What does an Assistant Controller do?

Assistant Controllers are responsible for establishing and maintaining internal controls and policies. A successful Assistant Controller will also ensure compliance with legislation and established accounting procedures while identifying best practices within the organization. An Assistant Controller will often supervise accounts receivable, accounts payable, and general accounting departments, providing support regarding any queries with the general ledger. Reporting to the Controller, an Assistant Controller may also work closely with senior management on complex issues.

Assistant Controller skills and qualifications

Some of the top skills required of an Assistant Controller include a strong understanding of finance and accounting, management and leadership skills, and a keen, analytical eye with excellent attention to detail. Essential skills for an Assistant Controller include:

  • Solving complex accounting problems through the application of generally accepted accounting principles
  • Critical thinking and, in turn, confident decision-making with the ability to implement internal policies and processes
  • Strong numeracy skills, particularly concerning scheduling, budgeting, and accounting math
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills (including great coaching, training, and presentation skills)
  • In-depth knowledge of accounting software and systems
  • Ability to consistently meet deadlines
  • Capable of interpreting and analyzing large volumes of financial data
  • Manage numerous priorities at once and be able to multi-task effectively

Assistant Controller experience requirements

Assistant Controllers are expected to have a minimum of three to five years of experience within accounting or finance roles, and previous experience using accounting software (such as Sage, QuickBooks, etc.) is very beneficial.

Assistant Controller education and training requirements

A Bachelor’s Degree in accounting, finance, or business administration is usually required for Assistant Controller roles. Completion of a training program accredited by Chartered Professional Accountants is expected for most Assistant Controller roles – although exceptions may be made for those in the process of a CPA training program, if close to qualifying.

Assistant Controller salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, an Assistant Controller’s average salary in Canada is $72,949 per year. Please note, this may vary depending on experience, location, and region.

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Assistant Controller job description FAQs

What is the difference between an Assistant Controller and an Accounting Manager?

Accounting Managers are mid-level managers who oversee some or all of the accounting department. They keep financial data organized and updated, ensure all applicable regulations are followed and present financial data at meetings. An Assistant Controller will establish and implement standards for handling company finances and documentation, analyze accounting and financial records, and assist with budgeting, forecasting, and preparing financial statements. While the two roles may seem similar and have some element of crossover, the Assistant Controller will take a more analytical role and seeks continuous improvement in the accounting and finance practices of the company.

Who does an Assistant Controller report to?

Assistant Controllers report directly to the Controller, or Business Controller, in the finance department – who in turn reports to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Who reports to an Assistant Controller?

Assistant Controllers typically oversee and supervise accounts payable, accounts receivable, and general accounting departments. Depending on the company’s size, this means a small team of accountants or Accounting Managers will report to the Assistant Controller.

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