New Study Finds Ways Controllers Can Elevate Their Strategic Role in Organizations

Marc Gerrone
(201) 474-1502

Montvale, N.J., June 7, 2018IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) and the Deloitte Center for Controllership today announced the release of a report revealing that many controllers feel “boxed” into the traditional role of their title, performing operational analysis and budgeting, while few have the opportunity to move into seats at the executive table.

The report, “Stepping Outside the Box: How to Elevate the Role of the Controller,” explores how controllers in the U.S. are spending their time in an effort to uncover what they can do to gain strategic clout at the executive level. It finds responding controllers typically spend nearly 70 percent of their time on traditional tasks such as closing the books or ensuring compliance with accounting standards, which limits the time they can devote to strategic thinking and planning.

“Many controllers feel they are not able to contribute much to strategic planning because of their traditional controllership duties and thus are left out of strategic conversations with executive leadership,” said IMA’s Director of Research Kip Krumwiede, CMA, CPA, Ph.D. “Every controllership role has a mix of strategy and traditional responsibilities, but the challenge is maintaining a balance, especially when circumstances tip the scales to favor traditional tasks.”

The lack of time a controller is able to dedicate to strategy often leads to a skills gap hindering upward mobility and a perception from outside that they don’t have the potential to provide strategic insights or information to support key business decisions. The influx of emerging technology and increased focus on complying with new accounting standards were also reported as contributors to the skills gap.

“We have heard for years that finance leaders would like their controllers to take on more strategic roles in their organizations,” said Beth Kaplan, managing director of the Deloitte Center for ControllershipTM, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “To get more involved in strategic projects and get a seat at the leadership table, controllers will need to build the skills and allow for time to take on these new responsibilities.”

The report identifies several ways controllers can elevate their positions, including communicating clearly to senior leadership why they are well positioned to assume more strategic responsibilities. It also discusses how leveraging emerging technologies like robotics, automation, mobile platforms and visual analytics can free-up controllers’ time to allow more time to spend on strategic work. It also suggests that by learning an organization’s business and what drives value, “strategist” and/or “catalyst” can be added to one’s job description and have an impact on the controllership role.

About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)
IMA®, named 2017 Professional Body of the Year by The Accountant/International Accounting Bulletin, is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program, continuing education, networking, and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. IMA has a global network of more than 100,000 members in 140 countries and 300 professional and student chapters. Headquartered in Montvale, N.J., USA, IMA provides localized services through its four global regions: The Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe, and Middle East/India. For more information about IMA, please visit

About Deloitte
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including more than 85 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 6,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors to make an impact that matters — delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them.

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