The role of the financial controller is changing rapidly. It’s not all about accounting and financial planning anymore.

According to an Ernst & Young report about the changing role of financial controllers, 82% of them believe that their job has become more challenging over the past 3 years. And in addition to that, 75% of CFOs agree that it is no longer enough to just “be good with numbers”.

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The financial controller needs to be more proactive. In 2016, there are three main themes that will determine if a FC is just a scorekeeper that tells the business story in numbers or a business partner that acts as a business advisor and integrator.

Hope is not strategy

The role of the financial controller is not just overseeing the day-to-day operations. Each year, it becomes more and more strategic. According to an IMA research report, 73% of financial controllers have increased the time they spent on performing planning and analysis, providing strategic analysis and increasing and improving productivity by automating operations over the past 4 years. Leading controllers are recognized to be the “go to” source for analysis and validated business data as 81% of them report directly to C-Suite executives and their continuous engagement to strategic support helps them boost their profile throughout the organization.

Focus on simplifying close-to-report processes using technology

Forget about paperwork, spreadsheets and manual processes. That belongs to the past. Technology is on your side! Although ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) tools and vast ledger systems have been introduced to the accounting world, don’t assume that a computer will do the job for you. Each company has a custom-made core back office system that manages its reporting processes. No matter how time consuming and challenging the close-to-report process is, the lack of discipline and up-to-date monthly or quarterly financial close can expose any organization to some serious risks. If you want to hold the key to the kingdom of “big data” that has been over-hyped in most companies, you need to overcome some new challenges that will arise mostly around technology. Even though many firms invest in IT to control their financial and operational data more efficiently, financial controllers will be the center of this data this year. In 2014, 70% of controllers reported that helping other departments access their information needs (even beyond financial and budget data) has dramatically increased.

Statutory and regulatory reporting

Financial controllers have and will continue to focus on statutory and regulatory reporting. However, if you want to be one of the top financial controllers of tomorrow, you will need to handle any regulatory uncertainty more strategically and be able to respond to new requests in a faster and more cost efficient way. For example, if you work at a large bank, learn how to address IFRS 9. If you work at a health insurance company, look for ways to lighten the burden of the minimum Medical Loss Ratio (MLS).

As the business landscape changes rapidly and the increase of innovation continues, the financial controller must be focused and not only pay attention to day-to-day financial operations but also to follow the organization’s main strategy towards success. Despite all these challenges, you have the opportunity to impact the success of your company and add value to the business.

If you want to know more about how to tackle these new challenges and get deeper into the DNA of the Financial Controller, join our 5th Annual Financial Controlling Toolbox in Prague on the 20th and 21st of June and maximize your learning experience in order to achieve the next level of your career. Don’t forget to like our Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.