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What is a project controller?
The project controller is – in cooperation with the responsible project manager – responsible for the commercial coordination of projects. Depending on the company, this can include major national or international projects with various interfaces and contacts.
As part of the Project Management Office (PMO), the project controller is the first point of contact for all commercial and contractual matters relating to the project, which are regulated in commercial contract management. In addition to these tasks, he carries out the complex, cross-departmental order and project accounting and is responsible for planning incoming payments within the major project.
His range of tasks also includes the monitoring and analysis of the cost trend, the regular implementation of cost and remaining cost estimates as well as the participation in the implementation of capacity planning.
The project controller often also supports the creation of calculations for offers and orders, including checking and evaluating the commercial conditions in the offers and orders.
Of course, the tasks of the project controller also include the classic controlling tasks such as the preparation of the monthly financial statements including various reports and the quarterly preparation of the rolling forecast. If required, the project controller also provides data for internal and external auditors as part of audits. In coordination with the project managers, the activities can also include working on the creation of business review presentations or the collection and maintenance of cross-product order and project structure data in systems such as SAP.
The most important things in 5 seconds
- Education: Degree in business administration or industrial engineering
- Starting salary: €40,000
- Top salary: €85,000
- Opportunities for advancement: Team leader project controlling, management of the project management office
What does a project controller do?
- Business partner for all commercial matters in the project
- commercial sparring partner for the project manager
- Taking over the project reporting as well as the cost planning and control
- Implementation of the complex, cross-departmental order and project accounting as well as planning of incoming payments within a major project
- Monitoring and analysis of the course of costs and regular implementation of residual cost estimates
- Participation in the implementation of capacity planning
- Participation in the calculation of offers/orders including verification
- Commenting on the commercial conditions for offers/orders
- Conducting ad hoc analyses
- Provision of data for internal and external auditors
- Preparation of the monthly statement, including various reports and the necessary forecasts as well as quarterly preparation of the rolling forecast
- Participation in the creation of business review presentations
- Collection and maintenance of cross-product order and project structure data (e.g. in SAP) in coordination with the project managers
- Processing of accounting and liquidity planning
- Administration of payment securities and responsible creation of payment-triggering documents
- Participation in special projects
How do you become a project controller?
- Completed degree in business administration or industrial engineering
- several years of professional experience in typical project areas such as real estate, industrial plants or plant construction
- In-depth knowledge of contract law
- Good knowledge of SAP and MS Office
- business fluent English
What does a project controller earn?
up to €85,000
Depending on the project volume and the respective area of responsibility, a junior project controller earns a salary of around €40,000 per year, a senior project controller around €60,000 on average, which can increase to €85,000. In addition, the salary level is positively influenced by international integration and the complexity of the area of responsibility – the more comprehensive the knowledge of the desired project and area of responsibility, the better the candidate ‘s negotiating position.
What do you expect from the project controller?
The project controller should have a good understanding of numbers and costs in order to keep an overview in the complex project environment. To be accepted as a business partner on an equal footing, strong communication skills and the ability to integrate should go hand in hand with a confident demeanor and pleasure in dealing with (international) contacts.
Against the background of the very dynamic and complex environment, he should work in a very structured and independent manner. A good dose of resilience and flexibility round off the profile – both are particularly necessary in view of the high time pressure with which various project tasks may have to be completed ad hoc.
Opportunities for advancement as a project controller
A project controller is quickly networked across departments within the company. This results in a wide range of development opportunities, both horizontally and vertically. In corporations with a team of several project controllers, the next step could be the management of the project management office.
A change to another controlling role can also represent a useful further development. If project controlling awakens the desire to go deeper into the relevant project matter (IT, technical, working capital, etc.), the respective areas also offer a wide range of career opportunities.
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