Inside Controller Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Real World Experience Needed More Than College...
I was surprised that even after graduation I really knew nothing about the real business world. In school everything always had a direct solution but in the real world it is never that easy." (Comptroller; 2014)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Maryland
School: Studied Business Administration at American University in District of Columbia; completed Bachelor degree in 1977

"Diverse Opportunities In Accounting Career Field...
I was surprised at the sheer diversity of work that is covered under the umbrella of accounting. Those outside of the field tend to associate everyone who says they're an accountant with someone who prepares taxes, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In school, we were prepared to work in public accounting, but not as prepared for all of the vast and diverse opportunities available in corporate accounting." (Accountant; 2014)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Kansas, female
School: Studied Accounting at Wichita State University in Kansas; completed Bachelor degree in 2002

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Controller: "The best part of my job is that I have a high degree of impact on how our company is run. This doesn't mean that we do everything my way. It does mean that I have a large degree of influence on what we do. This involves many areas. One area is how we treat our employees. This involves money, of course, but it also involves the way we speak to one another, the way we treat one another or, said differently, the culture within our organization. I also get to be a face of our company to our community. This involves things such as supporting community events and charitable organizations. What I do not enjoy about my job are those times when we have employee performance issues. It is never easy having that difficult talk with someone regarding their performance or, at worst, letting someone go. I know it is right, but it is still difficult. I also worry about things that might impact us, but that I have no control over. It may be the weather, the economy, or the price of gas." (2011)

Career Background


  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Tips

"Internships Are Key To Finding Your Niche...
If you want to find your niche in the accounting field, work more than one internship as a student. Whether paid or unpaid, use these internships as opportunities to work in a variety of different areas to determine which area peaks your interest and is best fit for you." (Accountant; 2014)

"Summer Intern As An Accountant...
If you want to be a successful accountant after you graduate it would be meaningful to get a part time job or a summer inter job in the accounting field." (Comptroller; 2014)

"Lose The Ego...
I have found that one of the best things a person can do is to leave their ego at the door when they come to work. One person can't know everything. Look to the experience and knowledge of others as an opportunity to learn rather than a threat. Embrace diversity. Yes, everyone says that but not everyone follows it. Know that diversity is much more than gender or skin color. Diversity of thought, of culture, of the way someone speaks all play a part. Don't surround yourself with people who are just like you. Yes, that is comfortable. It won't challenge you and it can make you myopic in how you view your world." (Controller; 2011)