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To become a controller, you should first get a degree in finance or accounting. It would be beneficial to earn CPA certifications and to get a graduate degree or an MBA.
The next step is to gain relevant experience as a government auditor or a senior-level accountant. From there, you could progress to an assistant controller position and then work your way up to controller, which could take anywhere from 12 to 20 years.
The most important skill for a controller to have is a facility with numbers. In addition, they will need a considerable degree of analytical and organization skills. Leadership qualities are also important, as is the ability to think critically. As with all jobs that involve working with other people, controllers would benefit from having excellent communication skills.
If you have been working as a controller for several years, the next step would be to work towards becoming a finance director. Most controllers have to show extensive experience before being qualified for this position, which involves much more responsibility.
You may also set your goals on becoming a controller of a larger company or group of companies. This provides many more challenges and much more opportunities as opposed to a controller position for a single firm. Working for a multinational firm, in particular, will give you many opportunities for personal as well as professional advancement.