What Does a Controller Do? By Sarah Murphy August 5, 2021 Financial controllers have acted as subject matter experts under traditional settings. Their role seldom extended beyond guaranteeing the accuracy of books and financial reporting. However, such a traditional approach is not meant for today, especially post-COVID. Controllers are getting more proactive and playing an active part in the growth of the business. Let’s explore what a controller does today to suit the demands of modern time. What Does a Controller Do Under an Evolved Role? The role of controllers and CFOs sometimes blur in small companies. The controller takes on the CFO’s responsibility to interpret and analyze numbers to help out the management. They act as a crucial link between leadership and finance to ensure strategic decision-making. Today, controllers are expected to walk in the shoes of a CFO and guide the company’s growth. Here is how the modern role of controllers is evolving to help businesses stay productive: Critical Problem Solving Controllers have traditionally served numbers to CFOs to facilitate insights. However, today, they need to take charge and drive insights themselves. Controllers have instant access to the key financial information that they can leverage to collaborate with the CFO. They can serve vital insights that the CFO can use for high-level financial planning. The process even helps improve risk management and inform the C-Suite about possible issues. Therefore, the business can take timely measures to prevent the issue from turning into a crisis. Creating a Lean Finance Team Businesses have shifted the focus on operational efficiency post-COVID. No wonder 81% of businesses went for major reorganization within the last year, according to Gartner. Controllers have always been responsible for managing the finance team. However, now, they are focusing on reducing waste as much as possible to boost productivity. The process starts with mapping your workflows to identify opportunities to go lean. Additionally, controllers are now looking towards digitization to streamline workflow. The process can eliminate repetitive tasks involved in bookkeeping and save precious hours. Therefore, they can shift the resources to productive purposes like accurate forecasting. Facilitating Remote Accounting Most businesses are working remotely or have adopted a blended approach. As a result, controllers are now managing remote teams with accountants working from homes. What does a controller do under such circumstances? Controllers are now leading the digital transformation process for finance departments, according to Gartner. They play a major role in informing the management about the need for an evolving operating model based on technology. Additionally, they are looking into shared services and tools to automate workflows like spend management. Centralizing Data for Quick Decisions The finance department worked in silos all these years. You had to waste countless hours to enter the same data in multiple books. Creating reports was a laborious process, and financial decisions had to wait till the end of the month or quarter. However, things have now changed, thanks to the evolved role of controllers. They are now taking charge to centralize data and gain real-time visibility into processes like accounts payable. Technology is a crucial facilitator that helps controllers stay on top of their budgets. You can keep track of every penny coming in and going out for making instant and accurate decisions. Final Thoughts Controllers are taking on a proactive role under changing times. They are working as strategists and helping the management make informed decisions. In addition, controllers are trying to keep the finance department lean and use resources optimally. They are also taking charge to facilitate digital transformations to achieve operational efficiency. Businesses can try Mesh for automating expenses and invoice management. We also have our dedicated payment intelligence platform to help you generate vital insights. You can also take advantage of our on-demand payment and SaaS payment management tools. Empower your controllers the right way for them to provide the best results. Manage Your Payments With Full Control & Visibility Get Started Sarah Murphy Sarah is a Content Manager for Mesh Payments. Before working in marketing, she completed her Master of Journalism degree at Ryerson University and worked as an arts journalist in Toronto. She was a content writer for tech companies in the retail and workforce management sectors before joining Mesh in 2022.