Sailing boat in open waters


Shaping a vision for the future of controllership

A more strategic role for controllers

Unstoppable forces continue to drive business growth and create opportunities for the Controllership function to take on a more strategic role in the organization. To transition the role of the controller and integrate a new direction with current demands, shaping a new vision for the future of controllership is beneficial—fully realizing that vision is imperative.

Controllership heads in a new direction

Five powerful drivers of change face the controllership function today:
  • Shifting strategic focus of the CFO
  • Evolving business and service delivery models
  • Increasing complexity of business and regulatory environment
  • Advances in enabling technology
  • Demand for analytics and data-driven insights

In sharp contrast to the past, finance is increasingly expected to partner in a deeper way with the business. To be successful, CFOs are calling on their functional leaders, including controllership, to provide information, insights, and direct support for strategic initiatives necessary to enhance corporate value.

Chart a course: Defining a vision for the future of controllership

Corporate controllers and other finance executives are redefining and articulating a vision that aligns with corporate strategy and helps the organization manage inevitable risk. A clear vision for the function satiates a need for direction and establishes a north star to guide the function through transformation and into a prosperous future. In fact, defining a clear vision for the future of controllership is imperative to the future success of any function—acting both as a shared vision and as a defining identity to unify that team.

Research by the Deloitte Center for Controllership™ confirms the crucial importance of forming and communicating a vision for the controllership function.1 Research participants emphasize the importance of the ability to sell and ultimately execute the vision as critical success factors.

However, more than 60 percent of those polled indicated that they did not have a clearly defined vision. Many lack the awareness of elements that can ensure a successful transition into the future, including influence, time, and skills as critical to their success.2

sailing ship yachts with white sails

Put wind in your sails: Leveraging tools for executing a new vision

When forming a vision for controllership, leaders should make certain that it communicates a clear direction, aligns with the highest priorities of the business, and illuminates the right path to cope with the shifting finance model. That path is forged by leaders who understand how performance levers are used to enable the function to deliver a higher level of value while maintaining a steadfast commitment to its core mission as steward and operator.

  • Talent and organization. How should the function be organized? What specific skills will be required to deliver this new vision? How can value be provided while controlling cost? Answering these questions is crucial as the function executes on the new vision.
  • Policy and process. It’s the responsibility of controllership to deliver on stakeholders’ foundational demands for accurate and timely financial information while simultaneously refocusing the function to aid in the growth equation. Policies and procedures should continue to evolve and be designed to scale with the business and related operating model choices.
  • Information and systems. The rapid evolution of exponential technologies (e.g., robotics, cognitive learning, natural language processing, etc.) have brought an abundance of new functionality to aid in the effective and efficient execution of controllership responsibilities. Moreover, by applying technology and data-enabled solutions, the function can add capacity by freeing up resources that would be otherwise burdened by mundane tasks, making them more available to deliver the information insights that business leaders need to make risk-intelligent decisions with confidence.
Four sailboats

Full speed ahead: Powering your vision with time, skills, and influence

The manner in which controllership leaders influence others to understand and align with their vision, allocate the time needed to support key priorities, and enhance or build the skills necessary to transform are critical to the success of their functions. Without these resources, a vision is nothing more than a posh designed electric car without a battery—the engine just won’t start.

Consider the following suggestions that may add power to your well-designed vision:
  • Influence. Build the right relationships that allow you to gain support around the function’s vision and key priorities.
  • Time. Manage increased demand while balancing the allocation of your time to enable the realization of your vision.
  • Skills. Build the capabilities of your team and grow the competencies you need to be successful.

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Sailboat front view

Transitioning to a new controllership

Controllership in the modern era has reached an inflection point. Roles are changing, organizational influence is increasing, and operation models are shifting at a rapid pace. To transition the role of the controller and integrate a new direction with current demands, shaping a new vision for the future of controllership is beneficial—fully realizing that vision is imperative.

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A sea change in controllership: Five steps for charting a new course

Center for Controllership™

Deloitte’s Center for Controllership provides chief accounting officers, controllers, and their teams an opportunity to collaborate and obtain direct access to resources and research to help build world-class controllership capabilities. The Center allows those in controllership roles access to our deep experience, broad capabilities, and valuable insights in managing the complexities of their roles while transforming their organizations to be more proficient, effective, and insightful.

Want to keep up with the latest perspectives on the changing role of the controller? Subscribe to our Controllership Digest.

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