Business Control - What Does a Business Controller Do?

Business Control is the work carried out by a Business Controller, and is largely about producing, analysing, and presenting relevant decision-making information for managers within an organisation.

Business Cotrollers

Business Controllers work within the finance department and are responsible for tasks related to Financial Analysis, Financial Forecasting, Financial Planning, and Financial Monitoring.

Business Control is usually led by a CFO, Head of Business Control, or a Head of Controlling. A controller almost always has a degree in economics from a college or university, and the same applies to those working as Business Controllers (sometimes also referred to as Operational Controllers).

Other controllers also work with Financial and Operational Management, but a Business Controller works closer to the business and should contribute to the company's management, be future-oriented, follow-up, explanatory, preferably strategic, and focused on improving processes or control. They usually report to the CFO.

Business Controller Responsibilities

A Business Controller's tasks are closer to the business and operations than other controller roles. Therefore, a business controller needs to see the whole picture of the organisation's goals, purpose, and business to be able to link business-critical information to their analysis, assemble decision-making information and analyse outcomes linked to goals.

As Business Controllers communicate with the business about financial data and operational data, it has an impact on Business Development (Operational Development). For example, they may need to prepare decision-making material when the business plan needs to be updated or collaborate with managers when the budget is set.

Business Controllers are more common in larger companies because they are not always as "hands-on" as other parts of the finance department (such as accounting economists). Smaller companies may find it difficult to allocate resources for analysis and forward-looking work, while larger organisations face greater challenges in terms of information dissemination, creating the right decision-making information, and implementing their strategy.

Examples of Tasks Included in a Business Controller's Job:

  • Translate strategic goals into measurable key performance indicators.
  • Understand what is happening in the market and proactively act by contributing to updated forecasts.
  • Analyse business processes and report them to management.
  • Control and monitor business processes, budget, and budgeting.
  • Initiate improvement processes in Financial and Operational Management together with internal stakeholders and establish control and measurement of the implementation.
  • Conduct commercial analysis and develop Financial Scenario Analysis.
  • Report results to management to allow for timely changes to be made and goals to be achieved.
  • Communicate with internal and external stakeholders (often auditors). In Business Control, it is particularly important to view the rest of the organisation as customers and communicate about finance in the right way.
  • Review financial reports to ensure that they are correct and complete.
  • Together with the CFO, evaluate the company's financial results by analysing reports.
  • Analyse financial data to identify trends, improvement opportunities, and risks.
  • Forecast future investment or resource needs.
  • Implement controls to ensure compliance with laws and regulations regarding financial reporting and disclosures.

A survey conducted by PWC shows that employees in finance departments consider improvements in technical capabilities to be the most important factor in achieving the finance department's mission.

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