What does a financial controller do?

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Find out what it’s really like to be a financial controller in an investment bank in this one-to-one interview.

What is your background?

I qualified as an accountant at Greenwood, part of Baker Tilly, back home in South Africa. I was fairly open about what to do next but knew I didn’t want to stay in audit and thought moving to the UK would be good for my career.

How did you get your current role?

I registered with Robert Walters soon after relocating to London from South Africa. Within ten days, I had an interview for a contract job in Finance Control at a large investment bank, which I ended up getting. Overall, Robert Walters have been brilliant and the help my consultant gave me in preparing for my interview was absolutely spot on.

What does your current role involve?

The role is is often in a dynamic working environment that changes all the time making responsibilities quite varied. It’s quite varied but includes making sure that the accounts department runs smoothly, carrying out higher level accounts routines, including the financial control of the firm’s finances and cash flows. I have to make sure expenditure is efficient and cash is actively managed.

I also have to deliver various financial reports and accounts to the business and prepare its annual budgets and cash flow forecasts. Another area I’m responsible for is making sure that those I work with are kept up to date with all the relevant changes in regulations and law – not as easy as it sounds!

What appeals to you about your job?

Before I started in my current job, I had little knowledge of the banking industry and thought taking this role on a contract basis would allow me to try it out and see if I liked it. I’ve actually found it really interesting. I love the fact that it is a dynamic working environment that changes all the time and – if you are able to prove yourself – offers great prospects for the future.

What qualities do you need to succeed?

I think you need to be open-minded and capable of seeing the whole picture. By this, I mean you need to look at information and know exactly where it fits in the bank’s processes. Being able to partner with the business is also key as I’m required to deal with a number of different stakeholders within the bank, from regulatory teams and the front-office to product control.

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