Financial Controller Interview Questions 2021

Financial Controller Interview Questions

If you want to know more about how to go about preparing to become a Financial Controller for a company, you have come to the right place. Here in this article, we take a look at some of the broad questions you can expect at an interview for a financial controller role, and we hope this shall help you greatly if you have an interview lined up shortly. Or even if you’re just curious about the whole thing and are just looking for basic information, you’re on the right track. We will present Financial Controller Interview Questions here in this article.

The primary responsibility of a financial controller is to ensure that the company stays afloat fiscally and has no problems regarding its long-term solvency. Their duties include planning and establishing budgets, overseeing and regulating corporate funds and accounts, forecasting possible fiscal highs and lows, and developing internal control policies and procedures. Companies generally prefer individuals with a Master’s degree in accounting or business administration to work as financial controllers. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or Certified Management Accountants (CMAs), who are qualified to deal with the toughest accounting problems, are welcomed by companies for this role.

Apart from planning and strategizing finances, financial controllers are expected to have strong leadership and communication skills. Since their job often requires them to present complex financial problems to people who do not have a background in finance, they should be able to break things down to a level that everyone easily understands. They need to be good researchers and patient leaders, willing to motivate others. Therefore, interview questions for such a position will be designed to test whether a particular candidate possesses these skills and whether the candidate’s personal values align with the company’s values and vision. With that in mind, let’s check out some of the questions that a candidate might have to face in an interview:

Financial Controller Interview Questions

  • Where do you see this sector going in the future and how are you planning to keep up with it?

Companies want to hire financial controllers who work with an eye on the future and keep track of all the current trends in the industry. Somebody who can make changes to their routine and their methods to adapt to significant changes in the environment, both short-term and long-term, will be an asset to the company. A good answer to this question should first include some of the major trends in the finance sector that are going on now with broad predictions of where they might lead to in the future, or if they will lead anywhere at all. Then, the candidate should talk about how they always like to keep themselves informed about such trends and modify their approaches wherever necessary to cater to them in the most productive way possible.

  • What software platforms are you comfortable working with?

Most major companies already have software systems in place to help in their financial planning process. The interviewer will want to know if the candidate is comfortable working with what is already in place at the company. We recommend doing some basic research to anticipate this question before sitting down for the interview to know what the company is working with. The candidate should briefly mention the software systems they have worked with in the past and their comfortable ones. The candidate should convey that they understand the basic software accounting programs and are willing to learn new systems and platforms. Any advanced knowledge of such software programs will definitely be seen as a plus.

  • Tell us about a time when you detected and eliminated wasteful expenditure for your company.

An experienced candidate will know how to handle their business, and therefore an interviewer would like to know how the candidate goes about their work. Finding possible wasteful expenditures in a budget plan for a project is an essential part of the job for a financial controller, and one must have a sharp eye for detail to do that. The interviewer would want to hear that the candidate has experience making important and tough decisions related to the budget and being willing to work a little extra hard to save a little extra money for the company. A candidate should mention any significant examples from the past where they cut down on their company’s budget without compromising the quality of work produced. This will show the interviewer that the candidate has the initiative and dedication to cut spending as much as possible.

  • How do you motivate members of your financial team?

A financial controller is also the leader of the financial team of a company and will be responsible for all of its members and the work they produce. This is why it is part of their duty to motivate their team members to ensure that they stay on top of their game and give their best to the company. This part of the job requires good management skills on behalf of the candidate and providing examples from the past when they implemented some successful measures to build the confidence of their team and ensure that they stick to the deadlines is a good way to answer this question. A responsible team leader who can properly delegate work to their team members so that nobody feels either overworked or underworked will be appreciated by the interviewer.

  • How would you deal with an accountant on your team who was underperforming r passing off their responsibilities to junior employees?

Being a leader also entails ensuring that everyone else is fulfilling their responsibilities and not delegating their work to other employees. This creates a vicious cycle of overworked and underworked employees that eventually affects the network output of the team. A competent financial controller should spot such discrepancies and put an end to them as soon as possible. This includes guiding and correcting staff who deviate from their responsibilities. How the candidate answers this question will give a good idea to the interviewer about how good a leader they will be. A good answer to this question should display the candidate’s commitment to due process and their tact and communication skills.

  • How would you deal with conflict within your team?

A key part of leading and managing a team is handling internal conflict. Personal conflict between two or more team members can easily take a toll on the work at hand and degrade the quality and the inability to keep up with deadlines. It is the job of a financial controller to ensure that their team does not suffer from any such instance that could affect team performance. A candidate should talk about how they regularly keep an eye out for signs of conflict within their team and conduct one-on-one sessions with their team members to inquire about their mental health and relationships with other members. If there is any sign of any conflict, then a candidate may first hear out the interested parties and then sit down with all of them together to arrive at a compromise.

  • What would you like to change about the financial system at our company?

The interviewer wants to see if the candidate has researched company specifics before coming for the interview. A candidate who has a general idea about what the company is already working with and has some ideas regarding what they would like to see as a financial controller in the company will give the impression of being diligent and willing to experiment and innovate with new ideas. A candidate needs to know the technicalities of the job before answering what they would like to change about the existing systems at the company, which is why this question is a test of the candidate’s diligence, knowledge, and innovation.

  • What according to you makes a good leader?

While this may seem like a simple question, its purpose is for the interviewer to judge what sort of ideals the candidate aspires to. Every candidate will have an image embodying some ideas which they would like to emulate on the job, and it will be in the company’s interests to find out whether those ideals align with the broader vision that the company has for itself. To provide a good answer to this question, a candidate would do well to learn about the company’s goals from their website and list the values they feel an ideal leader should have while highlighting that these ideals are in tandem with the company’s company need. A candidate who can fulfill the role of a competent leader while keeping the company interests in mind will be looked upon favorably by the interviewer.

  • What do you look for while hiring a team member?

A key duty of a financial controller is to participate in the hiring process for their team. Since they will be leading and taking responsibility for their team and its actions, the financial controller should have certain standards to refer to while hiring them. The interviewer will want to see if these standards satisfy the general standards that the company has for its employees. Also, since companies look for significant experience in their candidates for the role of financial controller, this is an easy way of testing a candidate’s experience. An experienced candidate will point out what differentiates a good employee and team member from a bad one. A good way to answer this question is to underline any experience the candidate has with hiring other employees and what they looked for in them.

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

This is a very common interview question and needs to be answered, keeping in mind the specific context of the situation. A financial controller is quite a senior role, so it is expected that a candidate will not be thinking about leaving the company soon. Companies like employees who stay with them for a long time, as the company also invests in that employee. However, simply saying that the candidate wishes to stay in the company and hasn’t thought about the future might give the impression that the candidate is a bad planner and does not have the ambitious nature required in a good manager. Therefore, a good answer to this question would be to discuss how the candidate wishes to stay in this company and gradually move up the corporate ladder while taking on further responsibilities. This will tell the interviewer that the candidate is not shy of handling new responsibilities and that there no need for the company to feel insecure about the candidate.


Being a financial controller requires not just solid technical knowledge about financial planning and cost-cutting. It also means being a leader and manager. While technical questions may well be asked during an interview for a financial controller role, a candidate for such a role will have sufficient knowledge in the financial sector already. Therefore their expertise on the subject will probably be taken for granted. The interviewer will be more interested in the candidate’s leadership, management, communication, and people skills, and therefore shall be inclined to ask questions more in that line. We are confident that this article has given you a fair idea of what to expect in such an interview, and we believe you can ace that interview after this. Best of luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How should I dress for an interview for the position of financial controller? Dress professionally. The sloppy dressing gives the impression that you may not take the job seriously and immediately lead to the interviewer not taking you seriously.
  2. How much should I talk about my experiences in accounting during an interview? While it is important not to talk too much during an interview, this job requires experience, and you can mention some significant instances in your career as an accountant. Otherwise, your experience will already be on your CV, and you won’t need to talk about it much.

Also read Financial Service Representative Job Description – Responsibilities, More

Financial Controller Interview Questions 2021

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