By Ringside Talent Partners

May 29, 2024

As today’s finance and controllership function evolves through a changing landscape to continue serving the organization, operating for optimal performance can be a challenge. Different operating models and multiple requirements necessary to drive the business forward can put performance hurdles and speed bumps ahead of its warp speed path into the future. Navigating both the speed and speed bumps is challenging.

Finance can take control of these challenges by harnessing controllership responsibilities and new organizational models that establish operating performance excellence and lead controllership to realize maximum value through transformation and beyond.

Defining Baseline Activities and Capabilities

To understand how to leverage the transformation challenge and position the controllership organization for new opportunities, it’s important to first define controllership through its baseline activities and capabilities that drive performance. At a level setting, effective controllership operating models are interconnected by data and address primary activities within the quarterly close, consolidation, reporting, and financial analysis—these processes and interconnections define the function.

The controllership’s characteristics that influence capabilities also define the function. Attributes such as the organization’s size, system landscape, industry, regulatory environment, and service structures affect everything—from access to meaningful data and the agility and scalability of operations to the possible competitive advantage with analytics and advanced data visualization. Leading controllership organizations have a deep understanding of how their characteristics may inhibit or catalyze enhanced performance capabilities across the function.

Directing Top Operating Practices

This interpretation of controllership organizations against today’s shifting landscape highlights both challenges and opportunities that can impact controllership leaders, their teams, and the whole function. By observing the environment through a critical lens and gathering real-life perspectives from transformation experience, we identified some key considerations for establishing a leading controllership organization model and for what these operating decisions can mean for the future.

  • Shared service centers. Evolving shared service center capabilities can enhance the controllership organization with considerable benefits, including increased efficiencies, process standardization, and consolidating tasks to free up time for more value-added activities. However, it can also affect resources, change-management requirements, and decisions around outsourcing and other delivery models.
  • Reporting-line decisions. Rationalizing reporting lines streamlines and standardizes reporting through a framework that removes unnecessary reports and data. It can also consolidate reports with an integrated and automated solution, harmonize the reporting process to reduce cost, and allow for greater time to pursue more insightful work and optimal performance.
  • Global process owners (GPOs) and process improvement. Organizations that leverage GPOs are often better positioned to achieve centralized process governance and information models. The enterprise-wide model or process ownership helps create clear governance with more accountability, standardized processes, and centralized global operating models. However, process improvements at this scale and complexity can seem like “boiling the ocean,” so assessing the benefits and broad implications for an end-to-end process that operates across functional and geographic silos is critical.
  • Global strategy. In a world where functional and geographic silos continue to break down, controllership leaders should consider the benefits and drawbacks across a spectrum of operating models to choose one that aligns with their global strategy.

Calibrating Controllership for the Future

The define, direct, and calibrate approach to a controllership model can enable a better understanding of why some specific models may work better than others, identify processes that promote the best operating performance in the function, and illuminate a path for establishing a leading controllership organization that drives the business forward into the future.

Take a deeper dive into how to establish an organization model for the future with insights from industry guests who offer real-world perspectives on the transformation of controllership. Listen to our Dbriefs webcast: Taking control: Establishing effective controllership organization models to improve performance.

— by Beth Kaplan, managing director for the Center for ControllershipTM; Katie Glynn, partner, Risk & Financial Advisory; and Alex Smith, partner, Life Sciences Financial Planning & Downturn lead, all with Deloitte & Touche LLP

Courtesy of Wall Street Journal