City Controller

Channel a city's funds into the proper services.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$76,000 – $142,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do City Controllers do?

Nothing’s for certain except death and taxes. And when taxpayers foot the bill, they want to make sure that money goes towards the right services. The City Controller sees to it that the money coming in from taxpayers is distributed to the proper departments, and that those funds are used properly and fully accounted for.

As a City Controller, you oversee all city departments that handle any of the city’s money. That means the water and utilities departments are under your thumb. Parks and recreation, public works, and others qualify, too. In this way, you’re both an Auditor and an Accountant for the entire city.

Your job as City Controller has you attending a lot of meetings, mostly to discuss budgets. Department Heads across the city report to you, and you report to the taxpayers. So, you make sure that you not only watch every dollar, but also don your Investigator hat when necessary and find out what happened when the numbers don’t add up.

To keep track of the influx and outflow of money, you use computerized tracking equipment, review spreadsheets, and question discrepancies. The job has its share of other paper-pushing responsibilities, including tax reports, financial statements, and monetary breakdowns. When all is said and done, you succeed in balancing a very large checkbook, and finding ways to streamline the delivery of the city’s products and services.

Should I be a City Controller?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • Also known as: City Comptroller, Corporate Controller, Cost Controller, Payroll Coordinator, Plant Controller, State Comptroller

    How to become a City Controller

    Most City Controllers have a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:ahdf9a&chl=|certificate+%287%25%29|associate%27s+%283%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2830%25%29|master%27s+%2860%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,60
    Schools close to

    You May Also Like

    Careers Similar to City Controller