If you’re analytical, love numbers, are organized and like accounting, and want to make a career as an Army Officer, you should learn more about the functional area 45: the comptroller. A comptroller is a public official who audits government accounts and sometimes certifies expenditures. I like to think of them as a financial analyst.
They’re not an accountant, but they do similar work. They plan, develop, justify, analyze and execute programs and budgets. Their civilian counterpart is a financial analyst or comptroller in the corporate world.
In the Army, there are many government accounts and programs that need to be created, supervised and managed. This is what officers with the functional area 45 do.
Here is a brief list of their duties and responsibilities:
- Brief and advise commanders and key leaders on financial resources
- Plans, develops, justifies, analyzes and executes programs/budgets
- Performs cost analysis
- Administers internal controls
- Evaluates financial reports
- Audits reports and financial figures
- Establishes performance factors, analyzes capabilities and recommends appropriate funding
- Supervises staff
- Evaluates organizational structure and functional responsibilities
- Conducts work analyses and studies of organizational problems
- Conducts briefings and analysis presentations
Officers serving in this functional area could hold a variety of jobs in the Army to include:
- Deputy Chief of Staff
- Resource Management Officer
- Budget Analyst
- Management Analyst
- Program Analyst
I’m not sure if there are command opportunities for officers serving in this functional area.
- CPT or higher
- Must have had sufficient college level training or equivalent experience in budgeting, comptrollership, business/public administration, managerial/cost accounting, economics, organizational management, operations research, information systems, business law, labor relations, or industrial/systems management as determine by Officer Professional Development, PERSCOM
- Complete your specific military education requirements
Qualities to Succeed In This Career Field
I believe that anyone can succeed in this functional area, but there are certain attributes that will help you succeed. Here are a few that come to mind.
# 1 Discipline – A good comptroller must have discipline and work well on their own.
# 2 Analytical – You have to be able to analyze numbers and reports to look for trends, issues, and potential problems.
# 3 Attention to Detail – The details are very important. You have to be meticulous and be a detail oriented person.
# 4 A love of numbers – A love of numbers will give you a big advantage over your peers. Anyone who loves crunching and evaluation numbers would do well in this job.
# 5 Well Organized – It really helps if you are organized and can keep track of everything.
Life After the Military
This is really a GREAT career field for any Army Officer who has aspirations to be a comptroller or financial analyst after they retire or leave the military. Experience in this functional area will help qualify you for some great civilian jobs, or continued work with the government.
In summary, functional area 45 is a great career field for any Army Officer with a passion for numbers and accounting. In this job, you’ll get to work behind the scenes and do all types of budgeting, accounting and financial tasks to help keep the Army rolling! It might not sound like a sexy career opportunity to everyone, but it sure is important.
On a side note, if you’ve spent any time in functional area 45 I would love to hear from you. Please share your experience by leaving a comment below. Tell us what you liked and disliked about the job, what you did on a daily basis, and any career tips you might have for someone interested in becoming an Army Comptroller. I look forward to hearing from you.
DA PAM 600-3
Former Army Major (resigned)
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8 thoughts on “Army Functional Area 45: The Comptroller”
I am definitely interested in this type of position. I have dual MS in Accounting and Finance with 2 years of public accounting experience doing audit and tax work. I am currently a 1LT Finance Officer branch detailed Chemical Officer for 2 more years. I definitely will be pursuing the CPA designation and CDFM-A within the next 24 months before CCC.
You are right – comptrollers are solid financial analysts who keep everyone honest when it comes to money. And let’s admit it – the Army equals money, even when it doesn’t seem that way to soldiers. Remember the jokes about $400,000 screws and $1 million toilet seats? Skilled comptrollers prevent that stuff from happening again. We need them.
I agree. Comptrollers have a very important job in the Army.
It surprises me that this is not a position with command possibilities. The responsibilities of a comptroller are numerous. The opportunities after the Army service are huge. There are so many possibilities. Many large corporations are always searching for comptrollers. With a military experience in that field, getting hired would be a good bet. I agree that this would be a perfect job for those who enjoy working with numbers and paperwork. Great post.
This is definitely a great functional area for life after the Army.
Yes, it is. I would also recommend that as a soldier is involved in this position, they also complete enough education so they can obtain a Certified Public Accountant license. CPA’s make a great living, and there are many opportunities in the civilian world for them. If you love numbers, this is a perfect job.
A functional area is not a Command potential job. If I’m not mistaken AR 600-3, a FA officer, is consider to be broadening developmental field.
Excerpt from DA Pam 600-3:" A FA is a grouping of officers by technical specialty or skills other than an arm, Service, or branch that usually requires unique education, training, and experience. After functional designation, officers may serve repetitive and progressive assignments within their FA. An officer may not be assigned to more than one FA at a time.
See chapter 8 for further discussion of FAs."
Thanks for clarifying Christian!