The role of the financial controller is forever changing. Their responsibilities go beyond keeping on top of a company’s numbers. As the role of FC becomes more strategic, the responsibilities have in turn transformed. Finance Directors are also experiencing change that impacts the financial controller’s job role. They are no longer expected or in some cases willing to spend more time on areas such as governance and investor relations, and therefore delegate much of this to their FC.
This change in responsibilities mean that FC’s have become more of a financial operating officer, focusing their day-to-day tasks on managing areas such as financial planning & analysis, tax assessment and acquisitions-related work. The growing workload requires the financial controller to form a new set of goals to help meet these new and increasing demands. In this article, we’ll cover the top four goals of an FC and how they’ll achieve them.
- Improving reporting to add value to the company
FC’s are tasked with accurately reporting every month, which is usually not an issue. They must re-evaluate their reporting processes to see if their reports are adding value to their organisation. To ensure that management reporting aligns with the organisation’s business strategy, financial controllers must ensure their reporting includes:
- Non-financial KPIs
- The ability to deliver reports digitally
- Effective commentary that adds value
- Relevance and conciseness
The financial controller must also ensure that the reporting format fits with the company guidelines. To provide high-value reporting and insights to the business, FC’s can implement an Enterprise Performance Management or Business Intelligence solution that meets all of the needs above.
- Optimising business processes
Companies are investing more in financial online tools to help simplify their standard practices. These tools are not just investments but they can also help to improve their company’s processes. Financial controllers invest these savings wisely by creating more efficiencies and value-adding opportunities. By focusing on finding ways to add value to the business, FC’s are not only improving the quality of their job function, but are also gaining an invaluable resource that will also assist the rest of their finance team.
- Recruiting & nurturing the finance team
Financial controllers are faced with the challenge of finding staff with not only the right skill set but candidates that can adapt and grow in an evolving business environment. Unfortunately, the profession of finance is facing a talent and experience shortage, making the recruitment of experienced accountants a more difficult task. FC’s should instruct recruiters to focus on qualified and experienced professionals that are looking for work because they’re looking for a new challenge, perhaps moving closer to the company’s location, or even hoping to get a better life/work balance. They should also consider other routes to finding new team members including social media as well as scouting for accountants employed by another company or firm.
Finding accountants employed by other companies requires participation and occasional input from the entire accounting team. Many recruiters use LinkedIn to find talented people, but they’re much more successful if they connect with a candidate through the introduction of a connection already employed by the company. Controllers must consider implementing an onboarding program, allowing them to nurture the successful applicant for the role.
- Ensuring accuracy in all basic job functions
Financial Controllers must ensure that monthly, quarterly, and annual close are completed in the most effective way possible. They also must ensure that their team can quickly adapt to changes to the business model as well as new regulations or ownership
Global operations have made it difficult for financial close to occur in a timely manner. Technical reporting issues often arise when it comes to regulations, further lengthening the close. One way to ensure a more efficient close is to hire someone who solely focuses on these technical issues and is an expert in these regulations.
As finance continues to change, FC’s must learn to adapt as well. They must act as not only a bookkeeper who focuses on the numbers, but a commentator who can explain those numbers; an overseer who ensures proper governance; a business partner who assists in important decision making and adds value; and a team leader who recruits the best whilst also helping to develop their employees’ skillset.
With the financial controller’s evolving role comes the opportunity to become even more integral to their business. The modern controller should wear many hats and be a true asset to the decision-makers, their team, and the future of their business.
Want to find out how our team of experienced part-time financial controllers and directors can help add value to your company. Get in touch today or call 01582 516300.