Job Title: Controller
Type of Company: I work for a reprographics company. The company sells equipment and provides services too.
Education: BS, Accounting, Montana State University
Previous Experience: I have worked in public accounting since I graduated from college but only in the last 3 years have I worked as a controller.
Job Tasks: As a controller, I perform accounting duties for our company. We have an accounts payable, accounts receivable and an inventory department. I pull together the financial information for month's-end financial statements, which are submitted to the president of the company. Month's-end statements include the balance sheet and the profit and loss statement. Preparing these statements includes reconciling and tracking the activity for most balance sheets accounts (cash, inventory, fixed assets, note payables, accrued payroll and other accrued liabilities). I also check several of the expense accounts to make sure that the expenses are posted in the proper month. After we have our financials prepared, I analyze the gross profit percentage by each department to make sure the percentages are reasonable. If the gross profit doesn't appear reasonable, I investigate the sales and cost of sales to locate where something was recorded in the wrong month. We use a general ledger software system which is designed for our industry. I also use Excel to track activity and document the support for the general ledger accounts. We have a human resource employee who calls in our payroll. I use our payroll reports to enter payroll into the general ledger system. I also help the other departments when they run across accounting problems.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that it can be very flexible. When you're raising a family and have some small children at home, it is quite easy to work part-time in this position. The best part of my job is to work with numbers and analyze the business on a financial basis. It's interesting to see what level of business needs to be done before the company starts turning profits. Once a business goes above that level, profits can increase quickly.
The worst part of the job is sitting at a desk all day.
Job Tips: The CPA test may seem intimidating, but I strongly recommend that you take it. Take a review course if your college provides that and study hard for the test. The experience of working at a public accounting firm is also very beneficial. Take as many Excel classes as you can and be an expert at using the program. You will use Excel a lot in this career.
Additional Thoughts: I would strongly recommend a career in accounting. There are many opportunities in this career ranging from part-time work to working as a chief financial officer.
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