Most Organizations Want the Controllership More Involved in Strategy
Defining a vision for the future of the controllership is key
NEW YORK, April 12, 2017 — Nearly all organizations (91.2 percent) expect the controllership function—corporate controllers, chief accounting officers (CAO) and their teams—to more actively shape and execute strategic priorities, according to a recent Deloitte poll of over 1,500 controllership professionals. Many suggest that their current mission does not adequately contemplate this new mandate. In fact, only 37.6 percent of respondents say their financial controller or chief accounting officer has a clearly defined vision that supports shaping and executing business growth.
“Now that the chief financial officer (CFO) role has expanded from accounting operations into strategy, so must that of the CFO’s first lieutenant: the controller or CAO,” said Beth Kaplan, managing director of the Deloitte Center for Controllership™, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “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.”
Another challenge is that just 33.5 percent of respondents say they are “extremely confident” that their controllership has the right capabilities and available capacity to fulfill its vision.
“Creating and executing on a vision of the future that includes greater focus on strategy of the corporate controller requires leaders to reflect on the skills and time commitment of their teams to meet these goals and expectations,” said Anthony Waelter, Controllership Services national managing partner and Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP.
Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the controllership talent, processes and enabling technology in the next 12 months is the top priority for half of respondents (50.1 percent).
“Controllership leaders acknowledge the importance of cultivating strong relationships across the organization as a key to achieving support and alignment for their active involvement in business growth. The nature and depth of their relationships are directly correlated to their ability and license to serve in a more strategic role,” added Waelter.
Noted enablers that can help controllership leaders achieve their enhanced vision, include:
- Identify a “short list” of stakeholders. Identify a finite, cross-functional set of stakeholders early in the visioning process. Listen carefully to their expectations for the function, as well as for any preconceptions they may have about the controllership and its value proposition. Involve them in the design of the vision to help accelerate adoption and remove potential roadblocks.
- Assess the existing and needed skillsets. Take an honest look at the talent controllership can deploy against business needs to identify where gaps in those skillsets exist. Leaders should consider including company personnel from outside the controllership function in a teaming capacity to provide the necessary knowledge and experience to close the gaps.
- Create needed capacity to take on new responsibilities. Often, the necessary skills and experience exist; however, those individuals do not have the time to take on this additional role. Getting team members on board for the journey early on and rewarding them for innovation can enable more efficient processes that should allow more time to focus on more strategic endeavors that add value to the business.
- Communicate your vision and value proposition. As with other significant change, a key step is to build a communication strategy that contemplates the importance of keeping all stakeholders informed and part of the journey.
For more on how Deloitte enables chief accounting officers, controllers and their teams to build world-class controllership capabilities, visit Deloitte’s Center for Controllership™.
About the online poll
More than 1,500 controllership function professionals—financial controllers, chief accounting officers, vice presidents of finance and the like—participated in a Deloitte Center for Controllership™ Dbriefs webcast, “The changing role of controllership,” on Jan. 31, 2017. Poll respondents work in industries including consumer and industrial products (29.2 percent), financial services (19.2 percent) and technology, media and telecommunication (13.1 percent).
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 6,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors to deliver measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to make their most challenging business decisions with confidence, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society.