To uncover why some controllers have a seat at the executive table while others are boxed into traditional roles, IMA and Deloitte surveyed nearly 800 (majority U.S.) financial professionals in the controllership function to learn how they are spending their time as opposed to where they should or would like to be spending their time. Questions were designed to shed insight on how they navigate the challenges of their role, what skills they feel they need to evolve, and how they can continue to add value to their companies.

Respondents were classified into three controllership personas based on the amount of time they spend in the traditional role of steward (managing risk and preserving assets) and operator (running an efficient and effective finance operation),

  • Traditional: Spend 75-100% of their time in the traditional role
  • Mixed: Spend 60-74% of their time in the traditional role
  • Strategic: Spend 0-59% of their time in the traditional role

Factors that can positively impact the ability to provide more strategic value were identified as well as obstacles that needed to be overcome.

The report concludes with ways strategic controllers stand out:

  • “Strategy” is part of their job description
  • Gain support of top management for resources they need
  • Focus on business’ strategy and effective communication
  • Commitment on growing current talent to reduce skill gap
  • Focus on leveraging new technology
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