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What is an IT controller?
With the rapidly growing importance of IT for the further development of companies, a large part of the tasks of IT controllers has shifted to the strategic area in larger companies.
- IT controllers have the task of projecting IT tasks and objectives agreed with the management and controlling their implementation while adhering to the schedule, effort and budget.
- They are strategic ‘thinkers’, contacts and advisors to management on all issues relating to the future strategic contribution of IT and its role in the company, including its costs and their internal allocations.
In short: IT controllers must develop, propose, justify and enforce IT projects in management so that IT can contribute to achieving corporate goals today and in the future. And they have to accompany and control the implementation of these projects – from the beginning and until the successful completion.
The most important things in 5 seconds
- Education: Studies in business informatics or economics with a relevant focus such as IT, controlling, finance, accounting; ideally commercial or IT training. For high demands 3 to 5 years professional experience.
- Starting salary: €48,000
- Top salary: €67,000
- Opportunities for advancement: Depending on the size of the company, up to the level directly below top management, possibly also reporting to the group controller or reporting directly to an IT auditor.
IT controllers are the helmsmen of IT projects
One of the primary operational tasks of the IT controller is to maintain transparency in every phase of an IT project with regard to the progress and costs of IT projects and, if necessary, to take corrective action if the agreed key data are not being met or cannot be met.
IT controllers develop KPIs, define deviation indicators, identify potential for optimization in procedures and processes and ensure that project budgets are adhered to.
They must also ensure that project-relevant changes in the internal and external environment that may become necessary during implementation are taken into account, implemented in a cost-conscious manner and adhered to consistently and unassailably.
IT controllers are always looking for optimization
The pace of digitization, growing legal and commercial demands on security and processes that are becoming ever more complex constantly present IT controllers with new challenges when it comes to the medium and long-term optimization of the IT department.
You have to assess how the development of the IT world and its environment will affect the current and future needs of the specialist departments, which projects have to be ‘set up’ and in which order they should be carried out, if necessary. They also need to address the question of whether investments to improve the situation are imperative – or possibly avoidable because the benefits do not (or do not yet) justify the costs.
To do this, IT controllers must be able to present foreseeable progress in the IT landscape and their possible consequences to management, but also to develop visions that management can use as input for the (further) development of its corporate strategy. In this context, it is becoming more and more important that IT controllers also have good communication skills in order to explain complex relationships to ‘IT laypersons’ in such a way that the potentially costly conclusions can be understood and the corresponding budgets can be released.
What does an IT controller do?
The areas of responsibility of IT controllers vary greatly depending on the size of IT and its importance within a company.
- In principle, IT controllers are responsible for the recommendation, development, calculation and implementation of IT projects and the subsequent success and cost control based on defined KPIs and, if necessary, the initiation of necessary corrective measures, e.g. B. in the schedule and/or in the estimated budgets.
- Furthermore, IT controllers are the responsible contact persons for the financial, technical and security-related aspects of IT and advise management on all IT-related questions.
- They are also the contact for internal auditing and possibly external consulting companies for IT-related issues.
How do you become an IT controller?
The ideal prerequisite for IT controllers is a degree in business informatics, ‘supported’ by commercial training or training as an IT specialist, or an economics degree with a focus on controlling and finance, supplemented by profound IT knowledge.
Internships and professional experience are almost always required.
What does an IT controller earn?
The starting salary of IT controllers with a few years of professional experience is around €48,000, with top salaries around €67,000. On average, IT controllers earn around €58,000.
What do you expect from the IT controller?
- Affinity for numbers and highly developed analytical thinking
- In-depth knowledge of common acquisition, processing, analysis and security software and presentation tools, especially PowerPoint
- Good business understanding
- Keen interest in all IT hardware and software developments
- Self-confidence and communication skills on an equal footing with management
Opportunities for advancement as an IT controller
IT controllers can be promoted to head of the IT department and have the opportunity to become part of the strategic management team and operational management in the company due to their detailed knowledge and extensive experience across all areas.
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