Interviewing an Assistant Controller? Cover These Three Areas


Your assistant controller needs to have strong strategic thinking skills, an eye for detail and natural leadership abilities.

As someone who typically overseas the day-to-day operations of the accounting department, the wrong assistant controller can derail a top performing team.

To help make sure that you are bringing the right person on board you’ll need to do some advance preparation, as well as ask questions during the interview that address both industry and company needs.

Needs Assessment
Start by defining the needs of the role, both in the short and long-term. Do you need to hire a more junior person, who can grow with the role, or do you want to hire someone more senior? Think two, three or even five years down the road. Your present and future requirements will dictate the kind of person that you interview and ultimately pave the way for a successful hire.

Industry Hot Buttons
Create questions that address the hot buttons in your industry. For example, if revenue recognition is a concern, ask your prospective hire about a time when he/she dealt with revenue recognition issues and what action was taken. Their answers will reveal how well-versed they are in your industry’s demands and how they might handle its attendant challenges.

Company Concerns
While still protecting company confidentiality, your interview should address a particular technical issue or area that clamours frequently for attention. Tap into your team for information. This offers two benefits. Your team will be more likely to buy in to your candidate of choice because you consulted them on the needs of the role and your prospective employee’s answer during the interview will show you their thought processes, leadership style and problem solving ability.

By conducting a needs assessment for the role and creating questions that address both industry and company hot buttons, you position your company for hiring the right person who will strengthen your team and deliver for your organization.