I am exploring taking on the role of deputy controller and want to know the five key components of a well-run controller's organization.
Can anyone tell me that or where to start my research? I would appreciate any advice.
Gloria Ewing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My experiences have taught me that there are several levels at which controllers can function. This will depend on the specific roles assigned to them, the resources provided to them, and their individual talent and experience level. At a minimum, they need to master what I’ll call the basics:
- Accounting competence – ensuring that transactions are processed efficiently and accurately, basic financial reports are timely and accurate, financial internal controls are adequate, and important cost/profitability associations are relevant and complete. This sphere also comprises handling external-auditor engagements. A strong orientation in financial information systems almost goes without saying.
- Tax and regulatory compliance – accurate, timely and efficient handling of the required filings of the business.
- Treasury management – making sure the cash is handled with effective controls to bring maximum value to the business.
A second level, characterized by proactive, value-added directives might include:
- Business process management – helping to improve processes throughout the business.
- Business operations support – helping users of existing financial information to interpret data and use information to make better decisions.
- Financial analysis – developing financial models to analyze and support specific business cases.
- Forward-looking financial support – budgeting and forecasting, scenario planning.
There’s almost no limit to the ways you can employ a highly skilled and analytical controller who has the ability to deal with people, but these are the areas at which we endeavor to excel. There are some good controllership books out there that you might want to scan. Hope this helps.
Don Munchrath (email@example.com )
I recommend a book titled Treasurer's and Controller's Handbook by Daniel Gotthilf. This book describes the key elements of a controller's duties. >From there, you can derive the best fit for your organization and hence the structure that you need.
Mark Woollgar (firstname.lastname@example.org )
I've held several controller positions, and I have a book that helps me as a controller. It is called The Controller's Function: The Work of the Managerial Accountant, by Janice M. Roehl-Anderson and Steven M. Bragg, published by John Wiley and Sons. I think Chapter 17, which deals with operational accounting, would help you. The chapter discusses ways to improve an accounting department's operations. I've used the information in the chapter at each company that I've worked for as a guide to structuring my departments.
Julie Grisonichi (email@example.com )
PPC (now owned by Thomson) has a four-binder set titled "Controllership Guide". It is loose-leaf with annual updates, and it has many checklists, which are very valuable. One aspect is a section on how to go about learning about and settling into a new organization. I think it is an excellent resource and refer to it quite regularly.
John Bailey (firstname.lastname@example.org )