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Financial Controller Salary Guide

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Financial controllers can take advantage of high salary potential and growing demand for their expertise.

According to PayScale, financial controllers earned an average annual salary of $85,710 as of September 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) combines financial controllers with other types of financial managers. The BLS projects employment in the finance management field to grow by 17% from 2020-2030.

Experience, education, and location can influence financial controller salaries.

Financial controllers and comptrollers play similar roles, but the jobs have key differences as well. For example, comptrollers typically work for government organizations.

Crunch the Data: Salary by Education | Salary by Experience | Salary by Location | FAQs

How Much Does a Financial Controller Make?

PayScale reports an average financial controller salary of $85,710.

The sections below discuss how experience and education can affect financial controllers’ salaries. Aspiring financial controllers should consider how location and industry can impact earning potential as well

The BLS groups financial managers, including financial controllers, with management occupations. The BLS ranks management occupations as its highest-earning occupational group. These professionals make a median annual salary of $109,760.

According to PayScale, financial controllers may advance to high-level executive roles, such as chief financial officer. The site reports that chief financial officers earned an average annual salary of $137,110 as of September 2021.

Financial Controllers

Average Annual Salary, September 2021


$85,710


Source: PayScale

Salary by Education

Financial controllers who pursue higher education can increase their earnings. According to PayScale, financial controllers with a bachelor’s in finance earned an average annual salary of $85,260 as of September 2021. This aligns with the profession’s overall average salary. With an MBA in accounting and finance, financial controller salaries rose to an average of $93,520 as of September 2021.

Pursuing an MBA requires time and money. This investment can lead to a salary increase or promotion. Learners also gain valuable expertise. They can network with peers and alumni for job opportunities and professional support.

With an MBA in accounting and finance, financial controller salaries rose to an average of $93,520 as of September 2021.

Many accounting, finance, and MBA programs operate in online or hybrid structures. Students often continue to work while attending class, earning money and experience.

Salary by Experience

Experience plays a part in financial controller salary potential. The longer financial controllers work in the field, the more they tend to earn.

As of September 2021, the junior financial controller salary averaged $65,200 annually, according to PayScale. Early-career professionals saw a slight jump in salary. With five or more years of experience, the average grew to $84,910.

Employers often reward good performance with bonuses and additional benefits.

What are the top entry-level jobs in accounting?

Salary by Location

Salaries for financial managers, including financial controllers, vary by location. Places with high demand for financial managers often pay the highest salaries. With a strong international reputation for business, New York tops the list of the highest-paying states for financial managers.

Metropolitan areas like New York and New Jersey may pay higher wages, but aspiring financial controllers should also consider the high cost of living in these areas.

Sometimes, locations with up-and-coming business environments may offer high wages to attract qualified employees. For example, U.S. News & World Report names Colorado among the best states for economy and employment. Business environment and growth both contribute to that ranking. As the chart below indicates, Colorado also ranks among the top-paying states for financial managers.

Since the BLS classifies financial controllers alongside financial managers, the data below reflects salary potential for all financial managers.

Top-Paying States for Financial Managers, 2020

State Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
New York 45,390 $215,640
New Jersey 22,900 $184,130
District of Columbia 7,060 $177,920
Delaware 2,310 $176,630
Colorado 7,450 $172,400
Source: BLS

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Financial Managers, 2020

Metropolitan Area Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 56,680 $214,670
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 6,560 $210,180
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 8,790 $192,310
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 19,310 $191,380
Boulder, CO 610 $187,940
Source: BLS

Where Should I Work as a Financial Controller?

The BLS projects that employment for all financial managers will increase by 17% from 2020-2030. This translates to 64,200 job openings per year.

This figure far outpaces growth projections for all occupations nationwide. A growing international economy means domestic businesses increasingly manage complex financial operations. They need financial managers, including financial controllers, to oversee their budgets.

Projections Central reports that most states and U.S. territories will see an increase in demand for financial managers from 2018-2028.

Job prospects for financial controllers and other financial managers vary by location. Still, Projections Central reports that most states and U.S. territories will see an increase in demand for financial managers from 2018-2028. Projections Central projects a decrease in financial manager job openings in Louisiana only.

The sections below explore detailed opportunities for financial controllers by industry and location. The charts include information on states with the best outlooks for financial managers.

When considering occupational outlook, readers should note that the BLS groups financial controllers with all types of financial managers.

Financial Managers

Change in Projected Employment from 2020-2030


+17%


Source: BLS

Best Areas

Businesses need financial managers, including financial controllers, across the country. While the largest number of jobs are concentrated in states with large metropolitan areas, such as California and New York, other areas also employ financial controllers in high numbers.

Projections Central projects strong growth for financial manager jobs in some states from 2018-2028. Utah, Nevada, and Colorado top the list of states where demand will increase by 44.4%, 30.3%, and 30.1%, respectively. California, Texas, and New York are expected to maintain the highest numbers of new job openings. Still, up-and-coming states will add jobs at a pace exceeding national projections.

Metropolitan areas employ far more financial managers than rural areas. According to the BLS, the top-employing metropolitan area, New York-Newark-Jersey City, employs 56,680 financial managers. Kansas is the top-employing nonmetropolitan area, with 1,040 financial managers.

Financial managers looking to work in more rural settings might consider North Northeastern Ohio, Southeast Iowa, or West Central Illinois.

The chart below illustrates job outlook and salary details for the areas with the most financial managers.

Top-Employing States for Financial Managers, 2020

Top-Employing States Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
California 92,670 $162,650
Texas 46,340 $148,860
New York 45,390 $215,640
Illinois 41,460 $148,620
Massachusetts 33,320 $158,990
Source: BLS

States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Financial Managers, 2018-28

State Percent Projected Change, 2018-28 Average Annual Openings
Greatest Projected Percentage Increase
Utah 44.4% 1,180
Nevada 30.3% 730
Colorado 30.1% 950
Texas 30% 4,920
Arizona 28.8% 580
Most Projected Average Annual Openings
California 18.6% 10,220
Texas 30% 4,920
New York 21.7% 4,810
Illinois 14.5% 3,970
Massachusetts 13.1% 3,420
Source: Projections Central

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Financial Managers, 2020

Metropolitan Area Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 56,680 $214,670
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 35,700 $158,070
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 34,420 $156,490
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH 29,200 $164,500
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 21,120 $177,140
Source: BLS
Discover the best cities for accountants

Best Industries

Financial controllers work for organizations across a variety of industries. Industry choice can impact financial controller salary, advancement opportunities, and job description.

Financial managers earn an average annual salary of $206,050 when they work in securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities. Other high-paying industries include information services and monetary authorities.

Aspiring financial controllers must decide what kind of work environment they prefer. Larger companies may offer more room for growth. These companies need more executive-level managers to oversee complicated budgets and more staff. Smaller businesses can provide valuable experience and a wider scope of duties, but often with less room for advancement.

Top-Paying Industries for Financial Managers, 2020

Top-Paying Industries Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities 41,920 $206,050
Other Information Services 3,130 $204,410
Monetary Authorities-Central Bank 630 $200,780
Cable and Other Subscription Programming 310 $196,520
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing 990 $195,340
Source: BLS

Employment by Industry for Financial Managers, 2020

Industries With Highest Employment Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities (5221 and 5223 only) 98,570 $124,040
Management of Companies and Enterprises 74,260 $165,480
Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services 42,750 $175,200
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities 41,920 $206,050
Insurance Carriers 26,990 $170,850
Source: BLS

Questions About Financial Controller Salary

  • What are the highest-paying financial controller jobs?

    Financial controller salaries vary by education level, experience, location, and industry. The BLS reports that New York pays the highest wages for financial managers, including financial controllers.

  • What is a junior financial controller's salary?

    According to PayScale, a junior financial controller with less than one year of experience made an average annual salary of $65,200 as of September 2021. Those with 1-4 years of experience make an average of $71,700.

  • What is a part-time financial controller's salary?

    Most financial managers and financial controllers work full time. PayScale reports that financial controllers earn an average hourly salary of $28 per hour.

  • What is the best industry to work in as a financial controller?

    According to the BLS, the top-employing industries for financial controllers include credit intermediation and management of companies and enterprises. The top-paying industry is securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities.


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