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How Do I Become an Assistant Controller?

Angela Crout-Mitchell
Angela Crout-Mitchell

There are four main steps that each candidate must undertake in order to become an assistant controller, including obtaining the correct type of college degree, gaining valuable experience, becoming certified in the field from a legitimate organization and continuing education. These steps help to prepare the student for the rigors of the position and will heavily emphasize accounting skills such as payroll obligations, correctly preparing taxes and performing audits for companies, among other tasks. In order to receive a job as an assistant controller and be successful in the field, all of these steps have to be completed. Employers often look for controller candidates who have up-to-date education and training on their résumés.

The first step you must take to become an assistant controller is to work toward and obtain a bachelor's degree from the college or university of your choice. Most people interested in this field choose to major in subjects such as accounting and business administration. During your time in college, it also is advisable to take additional supporting courses, including social sciences, English, communications and critical thinking. Many students also use this time to study advanced mathematics in an effort to more fully prepare for their career. Of course, a student who wants to become an assistant controller are advised to make excellent grades as well.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

After completing a bachelor's degree, the next step you must take to become an assistant controller is to gain experience. Career experts recommend working in an accounting position where you can receive management experience as well as experience working with the latest accounting and finance software. This also is the time to consider which industry field you want to work in, because some employers will require specific experience in a particular field to consider a candidate for assistant controller.

To become an assistant controller, it is important to receive the proper certifications as well. In order to take the public accounting exam, a student typically must have earned a bachelor's degree and have some experience in the field, usually for at least two years. Some places will allow students to take the exam in the final semester of school and let them obtain the necessary work experience during the processing period, though this varies from region to region.

It is not unusual for employers to require their assistant controllers to complete additional education requirements as well. Successful assistant controllers often choose to return to college and seek a master's degree in business administration. This extra education gives the professional more in-depth knowledge of business and accounting theory and methods. In most cases, students can customize the master's program to meet their individual needs.

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