Recently there have seen some discussion about the definition of two roles: that of an Operational Controller and Financial Controller. In many countries and companies, both roles coexist. But there is some misunderstanding of what they do.The difference between Financial Controller and the Operational Controller comes down to what they do and how they do it
Controllers have a new role in their organizations, and strategy is the key. Traditionally their role has been process driven and governed by routines such as month-end and statutory reporting. Financial statements, general ledger, cost accounting, payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, budgeting, and tax compliance are typical responsibilities. Yet numerous research studies by IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) indicate that corporate controllers are doing much more. Their role is expanding and changing in ways that mirror those of the broader finance function.
The Operational Controller is a strategic role within an organization. And, perhaps... this is one of the most misaligned roles within most organizations today.
As many of us know, effective cost management is the primary measure of accountability for business leaders. Cost management occurs through the strategic implementation of identifying and remedying waste by executing on the commitment and coordination of resources. Great cost management enables and ensures the highest possible level of product quality, machine reliability, and plant productivity at the lowest possible cost.
Although the job title of controller may bring a certain type of financial officer to mind, there are actually two different jobs that can bear the name.
For clarification of how the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice applies to your ethical dilemma, contact the IMA Ethics Helpline.
The IMA and Deloitte report, “Stepping Outside the Box: Elevating the Role of the Controller,” reveals that many controllers feel “boxed” into the traditional role of their title, while others have seats at the executive table.