Are you looking for a strategic team player who knows how to lead and brings the skills of an accountant?

If you answered “yes,” you’re looking for a great controller for your dealership. How do you know when you’ve found the right person?

The auto dealership controller is a blend of two skill sets: savvy accounting experience and intuitive leadership. The person you hire for this position will generate the accounting reports used for all financial decision-making. They’ll also communicate strategy with each department in the dealership, as everyone helps achieve company goals.

As a business owner, your auto dealership’s team must be comprised of people you trust to make the right decisions for the company. The reports derived from your accounting team are at the forefront of most major business decisions, so having a suitable controller in place will help ensure your dealership’s financial health and future.

Promoting from within your company is often a good idea, but you can’t award the position to just anyone. It’s up to you — and your recruiter — to make sure that you offer the right candidate the role of automotive controller.

Skills of a great controller for your dealership      

Try to spot the technical and leadership qualities your business needs. You’ll know you’ve found a great controller for your dealership if you find these qualities in a candidate.


  • Understands accounting practices
  • Establishes/maintains internal controls
  • Can prepare and reconcile a budget, communicating it to all departments
  • Capable of forecasting anticipated revenue
  • Handles insurance purchases and claims
  • Conducts an annual inventory
  • Meets regulatory reporting deadlines
  • Places a high value on data integrity
  • Maintains accurate and up-to-date records


  • Communicates regularly with departments
  • Develops a vision, sets a course to achieve it and brings others along on the journey.
  • Simultaneously manages multiple projects
  • Accepts constructive criticism
  • Capable of having difficult conversations

Other must-have attributes 

Most of the candidates you interview will have a strong background in accounting. This background often requires 4-10 years of experience, but it also means having at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Many applicants are also Certified Public Accountants (CPA). Because of the annual professional development requirements for maintaining the CPA license, this coveted designation assures auto dealership employers that the potential employee is up to date with accounting practices.

The final attribute is perhaps the most critical for your operations: the candidate must have automotive experience. Rather than learn an entire industry, your new hire must only learn about your corporate culture. This prerequisite assures that there will be a shorter onboarding period.

You won’t be searching for a diamond in the rough when searching for your next auto dealership controller. Locating candidates with this background and skill can be easier than you think if you work with an automotive recruiter who understands whom you need to hire for this position.

So when you’re ready to have the recruitment team at Autopeople in your corner, give us a call at 1-800-659-9501, visit our website at or email us to discuss what Autopeople can do for you.