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Controllers: Get Strategic!

By Elizabeth Kennedy
May 1, 2017
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According to the more than 1,500 controllers, CAOs, and vice presidents of finance who participated in “The changing role of controllership,” a January 2017 Deloitte Dbriefs webcast, 91.2% of all organizations expect the controllership function to more directly determine strategic priorities in the future. That said, only 37.6% of respondents believe their current financial leadership offers the kind of vision that shapes business growth.

 

Beth Kaplan, managing director of the Deloitte Center for Controllership, Deloitte & Touche LLP, says, “To focus more on strategy, controllers and CAOs should consider creating and socializing a vision for the controllership to establish expectations and the nature of their involvement in enhancing business performance and shareholder value.” In terms of increasing this influence, just 33.5% of respondents state that they are “extremely confident” that their controllers have what they need in place now to achieve this vision. To this end, 50.1% of respondents identified the improvement of both the efficiency and effectiveness of their controllership resources as a top priority for the coming year.

 

The webcast proposes several keys to driving the controllership role. First, make a “short list” of cross-functional stakeholders. Second, work together to locate gaps in controllership skill sets. Controllers often possess the necessary skills and experience but need more time and incentive to add value to the business. So it’s essential, according to Deloitte, to reward for innovation and visionary thinking. Finally, establishing a communication plan is a necessary step to ensuring the successful realization of a more central strategic role for the controllership within the company for years to come.

Elizabeth Kennedy is the feature editor at IMA. You can reach her at ekennedy@imanet.org.
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