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By | February 1, 2023

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What is a team leader controlling?

Controlling has become increasingly important in recent years. Because while corporate decisions used to be made more often “on the fly”, today management decides on the basis of analyses. And this is provided by controlling. This is where all the information that affects the respective company in day-to-day operations and strategically comes together.

In large companies and corporations, controlling is usually so extensive that several employees work here and an intermediate level is introduced with the controlling team leader. This reports to the Head of Controlling and is responsible for (partial) tasks – depending on the exact structure and the specific tasks of the respective department.

Here again, the rule of thumb applies: the larger the company, the more detailed the controlling structure is — and the team leader’s area of ​​responsibility is correspondingly narrower. The team leader, who is usually a senior controller, is the technical and communicative link between the management of controlling and the employees, who are often junior controllers. If necessary, the team leader can serve as an additional sparring partner for the next but one superior due to his greater depth of detail.
In large corporations, on the other hand, the controlling team leader is located at a lower level in the hierarchy and accordingly further away from the decision-makers. Here, the work is spread over several shoulders, which means that the individual team leader is “only” responsible for a sub-area. Team leadership is almost exclusively limited to technical leadership. Disciplinary management is the responsibility of the Head of Controlling or even the Head of Finance.

The structure of controlling – and thus also the tasks of the controlling team leader – is designed differently in every company. For example, the number of systems used (ERP, MS Office, time recording, etc.) makes a big difference: Does the company work with a large number of different systems from which the controlling team compiles the relevant data and then correlates them with each other got to? Or is all the data available in an ERP system? This not only changes the processes and the time required for various calculations, but also the quantity and quality of the data available to controlling.

However, the core task of the department is the same in all companies: it should develop and simulate (key) figures in order to be able to control the company with a view to different periods of time. The controlling team leader provides his superior with forward-looking statements, which he can in turn present to the CFO as a basis for decision-making. He often puts his “finger in the wound”. It shows where costs are too high or sales too low or where the current situation deviates from the target. This usually includes three main areas:

  • Annual, monthly or quarterly reporting: Here it is the task of the controlling team leader to check whether the respective figures correspond to the target – and if not, to inform the management and, if necessary, to present reasons and proposed solutions.
  • Projects: For large projects, it is planned in advance which costs are required for what. The Controlling team leader supports his superiors in this regard: He may take part in project meetings, constantly compare the target costs with the actual costs incurred and provide information in the event of any discrepancies.
  • Ad hoc inquiries from company management in different forms depending on the industry and company

The most important things in 5 seconds

  • Education: Successfully completed business studies
  • Starting salary: €50,000
  • Top salary: €100,000
  • Opportunities for advancement: Head of Controlling, Head of Finance, CFO


What does a controlling team leader do?

  • Technical management of one or more employees
  • Organization of your own work and coordination of all processes of the subordinate employees
  • Support in the preparation and analysis of the monthly/annual financial statements
  • Support and processing of daily, weekly and monthly sales as well as gross profits
  • Coordination and creation of reports, statistics and evaluations as well as preparation of presentations for the management
  • Participation in controlling, forecasting and planning processes as well as their constant improvement and increase in efficiency
  • Support of projects in controlling and/or with the departments


How do you become a controlling team leader?

How a company organizes its controlling can look very different. Accordingly, they may need special skills or knowledge of certain software, accounting standards or industry indicators. In principle, however, the following skills are required in any case:

  • Successfully completed business studies
  • Relevant professional experience in controlling
  • Basic knowledge of accounting according to HGB and IFRS, possibly also US GAAP
  • Safe handling of MS Office and SAP or MS Dynamics NAV and BI tools
  • very good knowledge of English


What does a controlling team leader earn?

from 50.000€

up to €100,000

A controlling team leader earns between € 50,000 and €100,000 gross per year. The exact annual salary depends largely on the industry: companies in the chemical or pharmaceutical industry, for example, pay significantly higher salaries than companies in retail or in the textile industry. In addition, the larger the company, the higher the salary . As a rule, medium-sized companies cannot offer the same salary level as large corporations.


What do you expect from the Controlling team leader?

Through their many years of professional experience, team leaders in the area of ​​controlling have not only acquired comprehensive specialist knowledge in controlling. You have also matured into a well-established personality who appears confident and can present your opinion convincingly and, if necessary, assert it. Controlling team leaders understand complex processes and projects and like to think their way into them. You work extremely results-oriented and always try to get the most out of everything. You can work independently as well as in a team and are able to structure and organize a team.

Increasing requirements due to digitization and globalization

Overall, the Controlling department has benefited the most from digitization. Because it has quantitatively increased and qualitatively improved the data basis for controllers and at the same time facilitated the linking and evaluation. This has increased the importance of the area and thus also upgraded the job of the controlling team leader. On the other hand, digitization has also increased the time stress factor for the controlling team leader. Because the figures can now be evaluated more quickly, which means that management expects this to happen more quickly.

The daily updated information also leads to regular ad hoc inquiries from the company management, which the controlling team leader has to process. In the past, key figures were only calculated once a week or month – so the tasks were less time-critical and easier to plan. Although fewer controllers will tend to be needed in the future because many simpler tasks will be automated via the software: the group leader will continue to exist. Because the software can only take over the mental work to a limited extent.

In addition, the demands on controllers have increased in recent years: companies are often looking for the “jack of all trades” who can not only think logically and has an affinity for numbers, but also speaks several languages ​​and is good at communication – a development for which globalization is decisive responsible for.


Opportunities for advancement as team leader controlling

A controlling team leader can be promoted to head of controlling through professional experience and competence. In addition, there is also the opportunity to develop in management positions in other financial areas of a company. Because all information about the company comes together in controlling and the controlling employees know the company very well. Accordingly, senior controllers are also in demand in other functions such as Head of Finance. Even becoming a CFO is possible and realistic. The job market for team leader controlling is currently very good and will probably remain so, since the area has become a core task of entrepreneurial activity.

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