Controller Salaries in Southern California: What do Controllers make in 2022?

March 28, 2022 ROARK

Controllers play such an important role in the finance and accounting departments of companies today.

Compensation is constantly changing, especially in a highly inflationary economy and looking at the great resignation.

Today, we’d love to talk about Controller salaries in 2022 in the Southern California area.

Controller Salaries vary by Southern California region.

Southern California has four major regions. First, there is the Inland Empire including Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Second is Orange County, followed by Los Angeles just to the north, and in the southern region is San Diego County.

Controller Salary by Performance level

We classify professionals into four groups when discussing compensation and understanding performance and skills.

Limited Performers

This is the lower end of the salary range. This professional has limited skills, they might have recently moved up to a position and has limited experience in that position. It could also be a professional that may be a longer-term player that's more of a B-level type of player or hit their professional peak.

Strong Performers

B+ / A- level players are what we consider Strong Performers. They’ll goo in and do a good job. Expect some limitations on skill sophistication or the latest trends in the industry. However, they'll do a great job in going in and helping you out.

Star Performers

These are the A / A+ level players within a given segment. If you want the person that's going to knock your socks off, that is going to be the star performer. They've got great technical skills, soft skills, and they're able to combine both of those together. They will do an amazing job. The star performers are really what we want at our organization, ROARK.

Elite Performers

Finally, are the elite professionals. They are in the top One Percent in compensation. They are going to be the ones at the top of their game. Typically, you’ll see them in very large or publicly traded companies and they get paid the top dollar for the skills they bring to the table.


Other considerations in Controller compensation

When you look at compensation, there's both art and science to compensation. So whenever you look at a salary guide, it is just that - it's a guide. It's not an absolute. There are key considerations that you're going to want to look at whenever you're looking at compensation.

And this is where we suggest that you reach out to an expert.

Common considerations:

Ownership Type – Compensation at privately held companies, PE-backed companies, Venture-backed companies, and publicly held companies can vary. Each type of ownership brings its own unique requirements for positions and the skill sets that are needed.

Company size - Smaller companies tend to be less sophisticated as opposed to larger companies. And whenever you're in a larger company, you really have to design processes and controls and be able to manage at that level. As you move into a smaller company, you can rely more on your personal skills.

Location - Cost of living plays different factors.

Industries - Certain industries will pay more for their accounting and finance talent as opposed to others, and then the required skills.

Specializations - If you're looking for super technical skills like SEC filings, or mergers and acquisitions, those are going to command more money cause they're more specialized skills in the industry.

Education and certifications - If you're looking for somebody with an MBA, CPA, or other certifications like CEPA. Those are going to naturally demand more money as they are usually, typically bring talents and experiences along with that.

Years of experience – This can be a variable as well in compensation

Inflation and compensation

What we're seeing even more than ever recently is inflation. There are strong inflationary pressures in these positions. The professionals that you were paying “X” two, three years ago are going to earn “Y or Z” either today or shortly in the future.

We believe there's a lot of pent-up demand left in inflation, where we're going to see salaries and wages continuing to increase for finance and accounting dramatically in the next few years.

Controller Salaries in the Inland Empire in 2022

For Controllers in the Inland Empire, with limited performers, we're looking at $125,000 a year.

Strong performers in a Controller role, move up to $140,000 a year.

Star Controller performers are around $165,000 a year in the Inland Empire.

And then our elite, which are in very large companies, publicly-traded companies, Controllers can go up to $250,000 a year.

2022 Controller Salaries in Orange County

When we talk about the Controllers in the Orange County region, we look at the limited performer Controller first. Your entry-level point is really around $150,000 a year as far as compensation goes.

Strong performer Controllers move up to $175,000 annually.

And your star performing Controllers or your A and A+ players are commanding $200,000 a year.

Elite Controllers in large companies, the top 1% earners, are seeing $300,000 per year in salary alone. 

Controller Salaries in 2022 in Los Angeles County

When we talk about Controllers in the Los Angeles County area. You're starting Controller, which is your limited performing Controller is around $150,000 a year in compensation.

Strong performing Controllers are typically starting around $180,000 a year.

Our star performers, or A player Controllers, move up to $225,000 annually.

And our elite performers, which again are the best of the best, most highly compensated Controllers, and very rare, are making around $325,000 a year.

Controller Salaries in San Diego County in 2022

When we look at Controllers in the San Diego county area, our starting Controller which is our limited performer is around $135,000 a year.

We then move up to our strong performing Controllers, which start at $175,000 a year.

And your A and A+ Controllers who your star performers around $200,000 a year.

Again, your elite players, which are kind of the top of the industry and some of the highest compensated Controllers are making $315,000 a year in the San Diego area.

2022 Controller Salaries in Southern California

2022 Finance or Accounting Salaries in Southern California

If you're looking for more information on finance positions, from a Chief Accounting Officer, Accounting Manager, Staff Accountant, or other support positions, download our 2022 total compensation guide which includes salaries, time off, bonus compensation, benefits/perks, and even equity compensation information in our 2022 Total Compensation Guide for finance and accounting positions in Southern California.

ROARK - Total Compensation Guide



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