Key Controller Competencies

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Yesterday’s Controller

However you spell it—“controller” or “comptroller”—the image is the same: a numerically gifted foot soldier dutifully overseeing a company’s financial reporting system. In addition, a controller keeps a keen eye on industry legislation, changes to taxation, and other relevant considerations. 

But while a distinct talent for the timely practices of filing and reporting, accompanied by a sound knowledge of internal controls and compliance regulations, remains the foundation of the role, recent business developments and fluctuations in the market have recast the controller as a professional who wears many hats. 

A February 2019 survey conducted by FloQast, published by Business Wire, talked to over 300 financial and accounting professionals, including 202 controllers. The “big find”? That the age-old controller stereotype is shattering. In other words, the potential growth of your operation may well be reliant on securing the controller of today: a multi-talent as much visionary as actuary.    

Today’s Controller

According to The Institute of Management Accountants (the IMA), the prototypical controller skillset is now but a component of a larger aptitude. Blue-ribbon controllers don’t just make spreadsheets anymore. They offer advanced analytics, implement IT, and actively contribute to the company game plan.

The Grayhawk Controller 

Grayhawk Search is a group of Finance Executive Search specialists with a direct line to the world’s most professional, proven, and progressive financial controllers. As keepers of the truly contemporary candidate, we know exactly who you need to successfully lead your financial teams while constructively contributing to corporate direction, whether you’re an established business devoted to keeping with the times, a mid-size interest experiencing a growth spurt, or a promising startup looking to become the next industry powerhouse.

Key Controller Competencies

Grayhawk’s reputation-staked talent searches are posited on sound, seasoned criteria. As such, Grayhawk’s search for top financial controllers is predicated on a number of distinctions:    

  • Risk-aware – A devotion to mitigating risk through tight internal controls and a die-hard respect for the integrity of the books  
  • Strategically-minded – A demonstrated ability to function in partnership with CFOs and FP&A teams as a valued voice in the planning and promotion of  company objectives
  • Visionary – A talent for weighing and assessing a company’s imminent prospects and long-range aspirations, based on a deep familiarity with the industry, the market, and the customer base
  • Tech-savvy – An appetite for automation, specifically, emerging data-governance technologies  
  • Clear Communicator – The ability to credibly present and endorse relevant findings, to both internal departments and external stakeholders, in person and through distance technologies
  • Visibility – A willingness to provide a company’s complete financial profile, including running expenditures, KPIs, and all other requests

The Controller’s Controller  

Securing its reputation as the gold standard of Finance Executive Search specialists, Grayhawk, as the name suggests, soars above and beyond. When determining the highest quality candidates—i.e. “the controller’s controller”—Grayhawk, unlike other “headhunters,” takes into account a number of additional qualifications. 

These include:   

  • Accelerated Closing – The prioritization of key close tasks, accommodating, if needed, multiple layers of reporting, primarily through the institution and supervision of timesaving I.T. applications
  • Data interpretation – Familiarity with analytics, dashboards, and assorted visual enhancements, bringing an interactive dimension to the presentation of information
  • Scheduling – A distinct talent for scheduling, promoting cross-team collaboration, a smoother workflow, and a swift, trouble-free close 
Kelly McClymont, Corporate Controller/HR Operations, Grayhawk: “A controller needs to be able to juggle multiple duties, always changing their hat.  A confident and competent controller can always adapt.” 

Tomorrow’s Controller

At Grayhawk, our extensive hiring process includes hours of interviews, scientific assessments, background checks, reference checks, skills validation, and onboarding. As a result, we can confidently offer the longest warranty period in the financial controller search industry.                            


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Cierra Campeau