The Controller plays a critical role in the financial management and oversight of a car dealership. They are responsible for various financial and accounting functions, ensuring the accuracy, integrity, and compliance of financial records. The key responsibilities of a Controller are accurate and on-time financial reporting, budgeting and forecasting, and maintaining strong internal financial controls. They establish and enforce policies and procedures to safeguard dealership assets, prevent fraud, and ensure compliance with accounting standards and regulatory requirements.

Education and/or Experience and Skills

  • Financial Management: A strong foundation in financial management principles, including budgeting, forecasting, financial analysis, and reporting, is essential. The Controller should have a solid understanding of accounting principles and practices.
  • Accounting Expertise: Proficiency in accounting software and systems, as well as a comprehensive understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), is necessary. Experience in managing general ledger activities, accounts payable and receivable, inventory valuation, and cost accounting is highly beneficial.
  • Strategic Financial Planning: The ability to contribute to strategic decision-making by providing financial insights and analysis is important. Controllers should have experience in developing financial strategies, evaluating investment opportunities, and assessing the financial impact of business initiatives.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Familiarity with industry-specific regulations, such as those related to automotive sales, financing, and service, is advantageous. Understanding and ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local tax laws, as well as financial reporting requirements, is crucial.
  • Team Leadership and Management: Controllers often oversee a team of accounting and finance professionals. Strong leadership skills, including the ability to delegate, mentor, and motivate staff, are necessary. Experience in managing and developing a team, setting performance goals, and fostering a collaborative work environment is valuable.
  • Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills: Controllers should possess strong analytical skills to interpret financial data, identify trends, and make informed recommendations. The ability to analyze complex financial situations, troubleshoot issues, and propose effective solutions is critical.
  • Communication and Collaboration: Effective communication skills, both written and verbal, are essential for collaborating with various stakeholders, including senior management, department heads, and external auditors. The Controller must be able to present financial information clearly and concisely to non-financial personnel.
  • Attention to Detail: A keen eye for detail is necessary when overseeing financial records, conducting audits, and ensuring accuracy in financial reporting. Controllers should possess a meticulous approach to reviewing financial data, reconciling accounts, and identifying any discrepancies or irregularities.
  • Automotive Industry Knowledge is a benefit.   Familiarity with the automotive industry, including an understanding of dealership operations, sales cycles, financing models, and inventory management, is advantageous. This knowledge helps the Controller contextualize financial information and provide industry-specific insights.
  • Technology Proficiency: Controllers should be comfortable working with accounting software and other financial management tools. Proficiency in spreadsheet software and data analysis tools is also important.

Essential Duties

  • Prepares a complete financial statement monthly according to dealership guidelines and within each manufacturer’s format and time frame. Ensures that all manufacturer accounts, including warranty claims, rebates, interest protection, and co-op advertising are current and accurate.
  • Interprets the financial statement and the daily operating control (DOC) regularly and informs the dealer of developing trends.
  • Participates in the preparation of short- and long-term financial forecasts for the dealership.
  • Provides department managers with detailed financial and management reports.
  • Maintains an effective cash management system that forecasts cash funds and makes recommendations for the profitable use of excess cash.
  • Directs assessment of depreciation rates to apply to capital assets.
  • Reviews the general ledger and scheduled accounts. Notes any unusual entries and investigates.
  • Reviews the reconciliation of general ledger accounts with outside sources to ensure proper bank reconciliation, reserve accounts, factory payable and floor plan payable.
  • Stays abreast of tax code revisions and advises the dealer regarding any operational adjustments needed to accommodate revisions.
  • Ensures compliance with all applicable government finance regulations, including filing and/or maintaining of required forms, payroll taxes, and deposits, income taxes, retirement plan records, etc.
  • Manages the dealership computer system to maximize utilization.
  • Administers a loss review program and maintains loss reserves for contingent liabilities and trade receivables.
  • Meets with the dealer to evaluate all insurance renewals.
  • Purchases property and liability insurance.
  • Prepares and processes all insurance claims.
  • Coordinates annual audit (or review) and physical inventory.
  • Ensures that all office personnel are using proper accounting procedures and maintaining accurate records and analyses and supervises the preparation of all information for the CPA to minimize audit or review costs.
  • Continually strives to improve data integrity and information reporting throughout the dealership.
  • Attends managers’ meetings.
  • Maintains a professional appearance.
  • May supervise other office staff.