5 Controller Interview Questions and Answers


As a controller, how did you free up cashflow for your previous employer?

The controller is responsible for analyzing financial records, accounts payable and accounts receivable to find new ways to free up cashflow for expenses and new ventures. They assess the company bank accounts and payroll for reconciliation purposes and ensure that company financial data is accurate. The candidate must identify any unnecessary spending that is creating cashflow issues if your company is ready to invest in new ventures or acquire more assets. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience mitigating cashflow-related issues
  • Analytical and financial skills for assessment of records
  • Keen eye for details when managing financial records

Example:

"I developed strategies to increase on-hand cashflow, including invoice factoring, more stringent debt collection practices and thorough analysis of existing financial records."

Why is it urgent to keep all financial records updated and organized?

Controllers coordinate with accountants to manage all of your company's tax records and evaluate all calculations completely. All records remain organized and readily available in the event of an IRS audit of your company. The candidate completes daily, weekly and monthly assessments of all financial data entered into the information system to prevent potential risks due to errors. Updates are reviewed by the controller to ensure accuracy and prevent the impact of data corruptions. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience with financial audits
  • Knowledge of tax laws and regulations for companies
  • Ability to keep records organized and updated at all times

Example:

"Organized and accurate records present the company owner with an immediate view of their current financial status, and it lowers common risks when the IRS conducts an audit."

What financial planning services did you provide for your previous employer?

Controllers evaluate your company's current financial status and create plans for future ventures. They identify financial constraints that require management before the plan is completed. The candidate finds new ways to generate capital, including opening new lines of credit and partnerships with new investors. They also provide updated financial information for upper management staff with your company. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience with financial planning for companies
  • Ability to work as a team with executive level management
  • Strategies for accomplishing company financial goals

Example:

"I created a plan to scale the business into new geographical regions and through a company e-commerce website over a three-year period."

In your experience, which software is more efficient for analyzing financial data?

Controllers with advanced skills understand how to complete control loop performance assessments when analyzing data and setting up parameters for controls. They must have a working knowledge of using complex software to manage and analyze data. Controllers who have worked with only smaller companies will use spreadsheets to collect financial data. The candidate must have more extensive knowledge with software if your company is a major corporation or a more large-scale company. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience with complex analytical financial software
  • Experience setting up controls to protect financial data
  • Knowledge of more complex financial data analysis

Example:

"In my experience, financial analysis software is far superior with standard spreadsheet designs and helps companies to conduct control loop performance assessments to find issues faster."

As a controller, how do you extend your knowledge of federal regulations for maintaining and using data?

Controllers attend seminars and workshops and stay abreast of new changes in financial laws by reviewing legislation that has passed or been proposed by government officials. They create controls for the company's assets according to the most recent laws and standards. The candidate must stay informed and follow any new laws when they are passed to mitigate associated risks for your company and financial security. What to look for in an answer:

  • Interest in continuous education of new and emerging financial laws
  • Willingness to educate accounting staff about changes in regulations and standards
  • Recognition of the importance of researching financial laws and trends

Example:

"I conducted research each quarter to stay informed of changes in financial laws, and I attended financial seminars and workshops along with continuing education courses."

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