In any organization, CFOs are the megastar as they deal with financial decisions that impact the company. But do CFOs do all of this on their own? Meet the controller – the ‘right hand’ of a CFO. While CFOs are responsible for investments and future financial performance, controllers are responsible for regulatory compliance and reporting. CFOs are long-term vision-oriented and controllers rely on short-term goals to impact the long term vision of the company. While both CFOs and controllers play very significant roles in the success of an organization, they need to strike the right balance between compliance and strategic leadership to be the best at their jobs.
In the modern workplace, controllers need to balance compliance and strategic leadership effectively in order to focus on higher value-added activities. The expertise and talents of controllers to demonstrate their leadership in new ways and help derive success for businesses have become the need of the hour. Having a strategic outlook not only solves most of the business problems but also helps in the analysis and formulation of solutions, that go a long way in making controllers good decision-makers.
The role of controllers has adapted to become much more strategic because of the presence of real-time information. So how have controllers evolved? controllers are managing more responsibilities other than being historians of the company but over the years, they have grown to become a strategic business partner within the organization, kind of a wingman- the CFO’s “right-hand person.” Controllers who are looking forward to advancing their role in an organization are expected to have the following qualities:
Controllers need to work with service level managers (operations) to:
By doing so, they are becoming business partners with operational managers to provide and use financial data effectively in making better business decisions.
Expectations of any kind cannot be met without a proper plan of action. So what should a controller do? To help controllers meet the required expectations, the following strategies can be put to use:-
The spectrum of responsibilities that come under a controller is no longer limited to being historians of a company. They are needed to be willing to take on the role of a change agent in addition to maintaining financial controls. It is important to recognize the needs and expectations of a top controller and actively work towards meeting them. Using these best practices opens doors for contributing to the organization’s success while playing the ideal wingman to the CFO.
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