Controller Salary

By Henry Steele - April 15, 2018
Reading Time: 12 minutes
Reading Time: 12 minutes

The following article discusses the career path of Controller. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Controllers.

Job Duties

A controller is someone who manages a company’s financial departments. These include all finance-related departments, such as audit, budget, and accounting. They usually have very wide-ranging responsibilities, including such things as writing financial prospectuses, balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and other critical financial reports. Additionally, they must focus on financial predictions in terms of how the company will perform. Furthermore, they must write and submit any and all state and federal regulatory reports.

Unsurprisingly, these professionals must have an in-depth understanding of financial reporting. They are problem solvers with excellent mathematical skills and great communicators. Usually, they have a background in business, finance, or accounting and then obtain advanced certifications. Additionally, in order to be a controller, most will have worked for at least 10 years in a supervisory role.

Other duties of a controller are:

  • To present financial reports, including on potential areas of risk, to senior management teams.
  • To manage financial analysis and reporting, oversee the accounting practices, and prepare consolidated financial statements. These include tax compliance schedules.
  • To make sure that policies and procedures are in place that fully comply with federal and state regulatory requirements as well as the relevant professional standards.
  • To put internal controls in place and maintain them in order to ensure that the financial infrastructure is supported.

Where We Work

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,397,700 accountants and auditors, the profession most closely related to that of the controller, in 2016. The largest employers of these professionals are:

  • Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services – 25%
  • Government – 8%
  • Finance and insurance – 8%
  • Management of companies and enterprises – 7%
  • Self-employed workers – 7%

How to Become

The role of the controller is unique, which means many have different educational backgrounds. However, there are some qualifications and skills that most of them share. For instance, they require a financial or accounting bachelor’s degree, although a master’s is preferred, and particularly the Master of Business Administration (MBA). Many also have Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation.

It is common for controllers to start their career as accountants or auditors in the Big Four firms. They then become assistant controllers and work their way up. Once qualified, they can work in public organizations, for profit businesses, or nonprofits. This means it is a very diverse role that can suit anyone with an interest in finance and accounting.

Education Requirements

The position is highly analytical in nature and requires a solid understanding of business and accounting concepts. Controllers must also have strong analytical skills, obtained through years of work in auditing and accounting. Because their job is to reconcile the budget of their organization with the actual outcomes and to report on this to the executive team, they must also be able to explain how they calculate numbers and how the processes work.

A controller is a member of the leadership team. This means they also require a number of soft skills that enable them to garner respect, motivate, and organize their staff. Courses in business leadership, behavioral studies, and managerial finance are therefore recommended. It is also common for these professionals to continue to develop their skills and knowledge by taking further leadership courses.

The MBA and CPA designation are the most commonly obtained. Others become Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) or Certified Management Accountants (CMA).

Traits & Qualities

The most effective controllers have the following traits to some degree or other:

– Strong analytical skills
– Excellent communication skills
– Highly detail oriented
– Great mathematical skills
– Organizational skills

Minimum Education

Bachelor’s with further education, master’s preferred Degree

National Salary

The national average salary estimate for Controller was $94,750. This number is estimated from over 6,182,936 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $49.35 and monthly of $7,896.

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$31,000

$192,000

Salary Distribution

Salary by State

The following section lists Controller salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, DC had the largest quoted salary of $113,452 while Wyoming had the smallest quoted salary of $56,354.

AlaskaKentuckyNew York
AlabamaLouisianaOhio
ArkansasMassachusettsOklahoma
ArizonaMarylandOregon
CaliforniaMainePennsylvania
ColoradoMichiganRhode Island
ConnecticutMinnesotaSouth Carolina
DCMissouriSouth Dakota
DelawareMississippiTennessee
FloridaMontanaTexas
GeorgiaNorth CarolinaUtah
HawaiiNorth DakotaVirginia
IowaNebraskaVermont
IdahoNew HampshireWashington
IllinoisNew JerseyWisconsin
IndianaNew MexicoWest Virginia
KansasNevadaWyoming
Alaska$87,130Rank: 22nd
The average salary ranks 22nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Mendenhall Auto Center, Air Force Nonappropriated Fund (AFNAF) Services Career Program, and City & Borough of Juneau.

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$33,000

$165,000

Salary Distribution
Alabama$83,427Rank: 31st
The average salary ranks 31st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Career Brokers, Inc., PANGEATWO, Vaco, and ITAC Solutions, LLC.

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$34,000

$153,000

Salary Distribution
Arkansas$80,164Rank: 41st
The average salary ranks 41st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Carter Recruiting and Associates, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Arkansas Department Of Human Services, and Accountemps.

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$26,000

$164,000

Salary Distribution
Arizona$86,714Rank: 25th
The average salary ranks 25th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Parker+Lynch, Headfarmer, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Confidential: Real Estate Company.

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$33,000

$164,000

Salary Distribution
California$109,237Rank: 3rd
The average salary ranks 3rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Murdock Martell, Buxbaum HCS, VincentBenjamin, and Enlightsearch.

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$40,000

$211,000

Salary Distribution
Colorado$88,786Rank: 20th
The average salary ranks 20th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like G. Peterson Consulting Group, Inc., Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Now CFO, and Regis University.

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$31,000

$174,000

Salary Distribution
Connecticut$100,734Rank: 6th
The average salary ranks 6th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Atlas Search LLC, Thomas Byrne Associates, and JWM Group, LLC.

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$36,000

$198,000

Salary Distribution
DC$113,452Rank: 1st
The average salary ranks 1st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Capital Search Group, Casino Careers, CyberCoders, and Medical Nonprofit.

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$44,000

$214,000

Salary Distribution
Delaware$99,944Rank: 9th
The average salary ranks 9th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like AppleOne, Aerotek, Accountemps, and Accounting Career Network.

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$32,000

$204,000

Salary Distribution
Florida$89,570Rank: 17th
The average salary ranks 17th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Idea Recruitment, South Florida Recruiters, Taylor White Specialized Staffing Services, Inc., and Ferreri Search.

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$33,000

$173,000

Salary Distribution
Georgia$89,067Rank: 19th
The average salary ranks 19th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Execusource, Inc., ExecuSource, The Royak Group, and The Royak Group Inc..

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$32,000

$173,000

Salary Distribution
Hawaii$85,045Rank: 28th
The average salary ranks 28th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like All US Jobs, NewSat North America, LLC, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Express Employment Professionals.

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$35,000

$156,000

Salary Distribution
Iowa$79,268Rank: 43rd
The average salary ranks 43rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Aureus Group, Palmer Group, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Accountemps.

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$27,000

$157,000

Salary Distribution
Idaho$75,969Rank: 48th
The average salary ranks 48th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Accountemps, and University of Idaho.

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$20,000

$168,000

Salary Distribution
Illinois$100,035Rank: 8th
The average salary ranks 8th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Grayson Search Partners, SBI Partners, CFS, Inc., and CFS Inc..

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$37,000

$193,000

Salary Distribution
Indiana$80,425Rank: 40th
The average salary ranks 40th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Philips Recruiting Services, Pinnacle Partners, Vaco, and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$27,000

$161,000

Salary Distribution
Kansas$83,356Rank: 32nd
The average salary ranks 32nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Cameron Craig Group, Jim Crumpley & Associates, and fulltimeGiGS.

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$32,000

$157,000

Salary Distribution
Kentucky$83,278Rank: 33rd
The average salary ranks 33rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like HR Affiliates, Talis Group Inc., Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Angel Group.

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$24,000

$177,000

Salary Distribution
Louisiana$81,687Rank: 38th
The average salary ranks 38th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Career Brokers, Inc., Nathan Paul Finance & Accounting, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Advantage Personnel.

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$28,000

$162,000

Salary Distribution
Massachusetts$105,355Rank: 5th
The average salary ranks 5th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CINQ Recruitment, Brook Street Company Profile, Manning Personnel Group Inc, and Boylston Search Associates.

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$37,000

$207,000

Salary Distribution
Maryland$100,139Rank: 7th
The average salary ranks 7th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Bob Bell Chevrolet of Bel Air, Sequoia Consulting, CPS Recruitment, and Merito Group LLC.

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$36,000

$194,000

Salary Distribution
Maine$78,912Rank: 44th
The average salary ranks 44th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like BerryDunn (Client), Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Goodwill Industries of Northern New England.

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$29,000

$153,000

Salary Distribution
Michigan$86,988Rank: 24th
The average salary ranks 24th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Parker+Lynch, UHY LLP, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Statewide-Staffing.

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$29,000

$174,000

Salary Distribution
Minnesota$91,464Rank: 15th
The average salary ranks 15th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Creative Financial Staffing, JP Staffing, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Robert Half.

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$34,000

$176,000

Salary Distribution
Missouri$85,052Rank: 27th
The average salary ranks 27th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Burchard and Associates, ProEnlist, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Accounting Career Consultants.

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$28,000

$172,000

Salary Distribution
Mississippi$89,883Rank: 16th
The average salary ranks 16th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Vaco, StaffPointe, and A-Line Staffing.

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$26,000

$192,000

Salary Distribution
Montana$61,820Rank: 50th
The average salary ranks 50th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like LC Staffing and Platypus Co..

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$16,000

$137,000

Salary Distribution
North Carolina$88,438Rank: 21st
The average salary ranks 21st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like BeardowAdams, Inc., Sherpa LLC, Maganti IT Resources LLC, and The Bolton Group.

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$31,000

$175,000

Salary Distribution
North Dakota$63,904Rank: 49th
The average salary ranks 49th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Nigel Frank International.

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$15,000

$145,000

Salary Distribution
Nebraska$81,935Rank: 37th
The average salary ranks 37th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Lutz, Noll Human Resource Services, Aureus Group, and Must have expertise with Multi-State Payroll – this company is growing coast to coast! ** Hemphill Exclusive!.

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$26,000

$168,000

Salary Distribution
New Hampshire$80,744Rank: 39th
The average salary ranks 39th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, BizRez Recruiters, CyberCoders, and Creative Financial Staffing.

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$26,000

$166,000

Salary Distribution
New Jersey$110,589Rank: 2nd
The average salary ranks 2nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like GSP International, firstPROPhiladelphia, Professional Search Network, and Horizon Healthcare Staffing.

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$41,000

$212,000

Salary Distribution
New Mexico$84,540Rank: 30th
The average salary ranks 30th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Nigel Frank International, Parker and Lynch, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Accountemps.

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$25,000

$179,000

Salary Distribution
Nevada$94,101Rank: 12th
The average salary ranks 12th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like All US Jobs, My New Recruiter, Kula Consulting, and Savvy Legal Recruiting.

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$31,000

$190,000

Salary Distribution
New York$105,409Rank: 4th
The average salary ranks 4th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Henderson Harbor Group, Accounting and Finance, Faststream Recruitment, INC, and Addition Management, LLC.

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$32,000

$219,000

Salary Distribution
Ohio$84,722Rank: 29th
The average salary ranks 29th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like NORTH STAR, Endevis, Vaco, and North Peak Recruiting.

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$35,000

$155,000

Salary Distribution
Oklahoma$87,100Rank: 23rd
The average salary ranks 23rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Parker+Lynch, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, DirectConnect, and ProRecruiters.

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$30,000

$172,000

Salary Distribution
Oregon$89,501Rank: 18th
The average salary ranks 18th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Austin Allen Company, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, State of Oregon, and BolyWelch.

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$37,000

$165,000

Salary Distribution
Pennsylvania$93,351Rank: 13th
The average salary ranks 13th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, firstPROIncPhiladelphia, Laurus Group, and Xplora Search Group.

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$31,000

$189,000

Salary Distribution
Rhode Island$82,703Rank: 36th
The average salary ranks 36th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Randstad Professionals, and Kforce Finance and Accounting.

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$26,000

$171,000

Salary Distribution
South Carolina$82,956Rank: 34th
The average salary ranks 34th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like THE BEACH HOUSE, Nigel Frank International, Cypress Hospitality Group, and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$33,000

$154,000

Salary Distribution
South Dakota$77,033Rank: 46th
The average salary ranks 46th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Spherion, Express Employment Professionals, and Key Staffing.

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$26,000

$154,000

Salary Distribution
Tennessee$82,740Rank: 35th
The average salary ranks 35th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Millennium Search, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Protech Systems Group, Inc., and Marcum Search LLC.

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$32,000

$155,000

Salary Distribution
Texas$96,115Rank: 11th
The average salary ranks 11th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like NextStep Recruiting, Aggreko, 3coast, and CIG.

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$32,000

$192,000

Salary Distribution
Utah$77,781Rank: 45th
The average salary ranks 45th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like PrincePerelson & Associates, Nigel Frank International, CyberCoders, and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$28,000

$151,000

Salary Distribution
Virginia$96,320Rank: 10th
The average salary ranks 10th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Him Tech Inc, Kforce Finance and Accounting, and Capital Search Group.

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$33,000

$192,000

Salary Distribution
Vermont$79,659Rank: 42nd
The average salary ranks 42nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Spherion, and Clinical Management Consultants.

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$15,000

$197,000

Salary Distribution
Washington$92,815Rank: 14th
The average salary ranks 14th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Gourmondo Catering & Caf Company, Ocean Gold Seafood, and Seattle Search Group.

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$31,000

$186,000

Salary Distribution
Wisconsin$86,199Rank: 26th
The average salary ranks 26th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Extension, Inc., Parker+Lynch, JRP Group, and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$38,000

$153,000

Salary Distribution
West Virginia$76,754Rank: 47th
The average salary ranks 47th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$24,000

$159,000

Salary Distribution
Wyoming$56,354Rank: 51st
The average salary ranks 51st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like U.S. Air Force.

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$14,000

$134,000

Salary Distribution

Top 20 National Employers

According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Controller. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.

Employer NameLocationAverage Salary

Learn More

Related Careers

Career NameAverage Salary

Henry Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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