There is a current movement in business and industry for controllers to go beyond providing traditional accounting services, such as financial statement preparation, recording of transactions, and payment of bills. They are becoming irreplaceable business partners who take part in strategic planning, understand industry trends, and forecast economic challenges. A confluence of factors are causing this change and altering the demands placed on the controller.
Controllers must begin to look at themselves in a different light to effectuate the transition to business partner. In a 2012 study conducted by the Singapore CFO Institute and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), titled, The Value of the Modern CFO – CEO’s Perspective, CEO’s said they look for competency in operational, tactical, and strategic management in CFOs and controllers. The following are among the top attributes of an ideal CFO or controller:
- Key player in shaping outcomes close to the heart of the business
- Track record of making commercially sensible decisions
- Commitment to ethics and the ability to manage ethical dilemmas
- Strong analytical ability
- Effective leader
- Superior communication skills
- Supports the strategic direction and operations of the organization through the finance function
- Thinks in a positive and constructive manner, and acts independently
- Consistency and reliability in presenting information
Want to know more? Download the full report from the ACCA Global website, and read more about the role leadership plays in transforming to a business partner.
Note: This article was adapted from the 2015-2016 course manual for Transforming Your Role as Controller to Business Partner by Jim Lindell, CPA, MBA, CGMA, with the permission of the American Institute of CPAs.