Consolidator: a strategic position after a business school

Consolidator: a strategic position after a business school

The consolidator's task is to provide visibility on the financial situation of the structure for which he/she works. He/she gathers the various accounting and financial statements of a company with several subsidiaries in order to produce a more objective balance sheet, complete and clear. This allows the group to have a global and more objective vision of its financial health.

Function and missions of the consolidator

The function of the consolidator is very specific and corresponds to a particular accounting technique, used in certain cases: those of companies with subsidiary companies. It is indeed a question of reformulating their accounts by making appear or by removing certain types of information in order to produce a global vision of the health of the company. 

Consolidated financial statements provide a true and fair view of an organisation's financial health across all divisions and subsidiaries. They are required when one company owns more than 50% of the outstanding common voting stock of another company, but there are many rules and regulations to account for, which are the specific area of the mission of the consolidator.

Companies or groups with several affiliates use so-called "consolidated" account statements. These are a consolidation of the company's accounts, including the parent company as well as the subsidiaries. These statement provide a global financial view of the group and its overall health, as opposed to a side-by-side observation of the accounts of each entity. The consolidated accounts do not take into account the internal transactions of the company in order to present clearer results. Instead, they include the equity or debt of the parent company.

The financial statements of a group in which the assets, liabilities, equity, income, expenses and cash flows of the parent and its subsidiaries are presented as those of a single economic entity.

The consolidator's task is to take over the accounting data by applying different standards. These standards may be French and/or international (IAS and IFRS International Financial Reporting Standards) depending on the case. Each year, he draws up a report that is sent to the AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers).

What are the missions of a consolidator?

The missions of the consolidator are defined according to the particularities of the group that employs him. In general, his functions are composed of different tasks and steps, such as:

  • The analysis of the economic, fiscal and financial documents of each subsidiary;
  • The definition of the consolidation perimeter;
  • Programming of the accounts consolidation schedule and its modalities (inter-company entries);
  • Processing: integration in a specific computerized control tool to detect anomalies;
  • The elaboration of the consolidated results and the setting of standards;
  • Production of the annual report for the AMF and the CAC.

Degrees and training required to become a consolidator

The consolidator comes from an advanced training in accounting and financial analysis. Most of the time, they have a 5-year degree and hold : 

  • A Master in Accounting, Control, Audit,
  • A business school diploma with an accounting and/or finance option,
  • A french DSCG (Higher Diploma of Accounting and Management),
  • A specialized degree in the field of finance (Master or Msc).

Qualities and skills of the consolidator

The consolidator is not only an expert in accounting techniques (financial analysis, financial reporting, and of course, consolidation) but also in normative and fiscal matters. He/she is able to review the accounts of French or foreign subsidiaries by applying the various consolidation techniques. He must be able to project different accounting techniques by ensuring their validity for the case in question. In this way, he or she can "translate" the figures so that they all express their results on the same basis. In this way, we can say that he is committed to putting different information under a common denominator in order to ensure a full and complete reading.

In order to carry out his mission at best, a good consolidator must show many qualities and skills, such as :

  • Mastery of accounting and business law
  • Rigor, sense of organization
  • Stress management and work capacity
  • A taste for numbers
  • Ability to analyze and summarize
  • Excellent level of English (necessary for work with international standards)

Evolution and salaries of the financial consolidator

The profession of consolidator is still not very widespread. This strategic function is indeed present in important companies since they have subsidiaries: large and very large groups, companies listed on the stock exchange or specialized firms. Thus, the consolidator who wishes to remain in his speciality will be able to develop his career by becoming a Consolidation Manager/Director. His deep knowledge of the company's financial situation and accounts will also lead him to occupy a position of CFO (Chief Financial Officer).

The average salary of a consolidator in France is around 48 000 euros, depending on his profile, his training and his experience.