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Top 10 Skills You Need to Be a Successful Financial Controller


    Financial controllers' responsibilities have expanded far beyond number crunching. Controllers are increasingly taking on the role of financial operations officer. They're quickly becoming the CFO's go-to resource for ensuring that finance runs smoothly and that quarter-end surprises are avoided.

    They must have a forward-thinking attitude. They must always look for ways to boost productivity, save expenses, and streamline processes. They must also scale these procedures to cope with rapid expansion.

    Tick off all the items in this article to ensure success as a financial controller:

    1. A strong understanding of corporate operations
    2. Controllers should have a thorough understanding of their company's operations and structure. What is the corporate culture like? What is the structure of the business?

    3. A strong internal controls and compliance knowledge
    4. A controller is usually in charge of the entire internal controls program and procedure for their company. This means that you and your team are responsible for the design, development, and testing of each control's operational effectiveness. If you work for a publicly-traded company, you'll additionally have to prepare all of the Sarbanes Oxley quarterly and annual obligations.

    5. An excellent understanding of corporate transaction processes
    6. Accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, T&E, and general accounting are just a few of the corporate transaction procedures that controllers are responsible for. In procure-to-pay (P2P) and order-to-cash (O2C), there are numerous potentials to streamline these processes through automation and transformation projects.

    7. Cost containment
    8. A cost control process, for example, is implemented for a major project to monitor cost performance, ensure changes are recorded accurately, prohibit unauthorized changes, inform stakeholders of cost changes, keep expected costs within acceptable limits, and track and document reasons for favorable and unfavorable cost variances. You are in charge of cost control as a controller. To ensure that costs are under control, rules & procedures, systems, processes, and metrics must be developed.

    9. Analytics-Inspired
    10. Analytics and metrics drive a competent controller. The outcomes of a properly erroneous designed metrics program show how well your company's business processes are performing and where modifications have been made successfully. Metrics should also reflect issue areas, and analytics should be available to delve down to discover a solution.

    11. A keen eye to make your business more efficient
    12. Despite the widespread expectation that businesses should be able to close their books in a week or less, many businesses fail to meet this target for their quarterly or annual close. Most businesses still have a long way to go before they achieve a "virtual close," in which fully integrated financial apps and ERP systems offer on-demand access to real-time financial information.

    13. Enabler of collaboration among a decentralized team
    14. Finance departments are more autonomous than they have ever been, but accountants still need to work together to close deals. Collaboration is hampered by centralized, difficult-to-access systems, as well as ill-defined schedules and a lack of commitment to deadlines.

      The finest controllers balance leadership and project management to effectively manage their distributed teams. They establish a regular close timetable that eliminates bottlenecks, decreases surprises, and fosters teamwork. The team can also offer information more swiftly with a consistent schedule.

    15. Ability to form and maintain business alliances
    16. Maintaining solid business partnerships is a vital success factor for a controller, who manages a company's accounting systems. You should identify your spheres of influence and make sure you have a solid working relationship with the department heads. Information Technology (IT), Legal, Human Resources (HR), Corporate Ethics, Supply Chain, and Procurement are some of the most important business partnerships.

    17. Communication that is precise and clear
    18. Communication is a personal process that must be tailored to the audience and circumstances. Using the incorrect communication channel could result in an erroneous message being sent. A decision that has a significant impact on a person's career, for example, should not be given in an impersonal form letter. It's usually a good idea to think how you'd feel if you were on the receiving end of anything.

    19. A leadership style that is defined and consistent
    20. A controller should be adaptable, understand his or her own core leadership style, value team members, and be aware of all aspects influencing the issue, according to an examination of all leadership styles. Despite the fact that situational leadership is hailed as the "best" leadership style, one's underlying principles and ethics should not be altered as a result of the scenario. Great leaders are well-versed in the leadership styles that work best for them.

      The Financial Controller's role is expanding, and with it comes the ability to become even more important to their company. The modern controller should be able to wear several hats and be a valuable asset to decision-makers, their team, and the company's future.