January 15, 2016

Sample Job Description: National Controller

In this sample national controller job description, the organization runs programs nationally and has relatively uncomplicated funding.

This organization has complex program offerings and diverse funding sources, including state, federal, corporate, and foundation funding. There is a heavy emphasis on reporting, requiring this role to focus narrowly on the finance function. Knowledge and understanding of Office of Management and Budget requirements for this role is critical because of federal funding, as is the ability to work closely with program leaders. Strong team management experience is key to being successful in this role.

Feel free to use and modify this sample job description to help you create one for your organization.

Sample Description

XYZ Nonprofit
National Contoller

Reporting to the chief financial officer, the National Controller will lead all day-to-day operations of the finance department, including budget development and analysis, accounting for investments, accounts payable and receivable, general ledger, payroll, relationship management with banks and other vendors, and audit preparation. The National Controller will collaborate with a variety of internal constituents, including the CEO, CFO, program controllers, and department heads.

The National Controller will be charged with identifying new opportunities to improve efficiencies,eliminate backlogs, and respond proactively to other departments needs. She or he will need to analyze the existing processes and systems and work closely with the CFO and administrators to streamline current systems, leverage new information technology, and establish standard operating procedures that provide maximum benefit to all parties involved.

This is an outstanding opportunity for a proactive, hands-on finance manager who brings a successful track record of creative problem-solving and strengthening infrastructure to work in a mission-driven organization.

This description is part of the Nonprofit Job Description Toolkit View more


Strategic Financial Management

  • Manage all accounts, ledgers, and reporting systems ensuring compliance with appropriate GAAP standards and regulatory requirements. Maintain internal control safeguards for the receipt of revenue, costs and both division budgets and actual expenditures.
  • Oversee budgeting, and the implementation of budgets, so as to monitor progress and present financial metrics both internally and externally.
  • Collaborate with members of the leadership team in drafting, reviewing, and verifying accuracy of annual HQ budgets by department.
  • Implement consistent accounting policies, practices, and procedures across all programs.
  • Manage cash flow and forecasting for all of XYZ Nonprofit.
  • Optimize the handling of banking relationships and initiate appropriate strategies to enhance cash positions.
  • Account for and track the performance of XYZ Nonprofit’s endowment in keeping with the policies and investment guidelines established by the investment committee.
  • Coordinate all audit activities.

Team Leadership

  • Provide the necessary training and development for staff.
  • Manage work load issues effectively to create a workplace that increases staff retention, and strengthens communication within and outside the department.


  • Prior nonprofit finance experience with a successful track record in a senior financial management role for at least 10-plus years is essential
  • Demonstrable experience in creating and driving the analytic framework for planning and managing organizational change; ability to anticipate the infrastructure and systems needs in a complex, national, multisite nonprofit
  • Exceptional management skills
  • Recognized success in developing and monitoring systems to manage both internal operations and programmatic work that involve high levels of collaboration, particularly with program directors and other senior leadership
  • An accessible, visible, and flexible management style that inspires trust and confidence in staff to work hard and well together
  • Keen analytic, organization, and problem solving skills that support and enable sound decision making in a complex organization; demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities and guiding investment in people and systems
  • Direct and concise communication skills; an active listener; ability to translate complex financial concepts to individuals at all levels including finance and non-finance managers
  • Technology savvy with the ability to manage data for financial reporting quickly and effectively
  • Personal qualities of integrity and credibility, and a commitment to the mission of XYZ Nonprofit

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