Controlling of the Future: New Requirements in Controlling

Volatile markets, lack of predictability, increasing complexity in the business environment - the pressure for change for companies continues to rise.

This increase has resulted not only in the adaptation of corporate structures, but also in a change in the roles of a wide variety of job profiles. Thus, the tasks in controlling have changed and new requirements for CFOs have emerged.

But to what extent is the CFO’s role in the company affected by this change?

The conditions of the much-cited VUCA world and the associated dynamics of the markets require a flexible response to complex issues. VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. The term describes the complex market environment to which companies must adapt at the current time. In order to ensure the sustainable success of a company, controllers should recognize possible effects of potential events early enough to be able to define and initiate appropriate measures – agile action is required.

In the course of change, the controller of the future must increasingly become the CEO’s sparring partner. This means that he has to know all areas of the company even more intensively and is closely linked to the CEO. Accordingly, the qualifications of the CFO increasingly correspond to those of the CEO and decisions are made by both on an equal footing. The classic role of the CFO as “administrator” of all corporate requirements and compliance guidelines has long since ceased to be sufficient, as he is increasingly assuming the role of a data scientist.

Based on his findings, he provides support for strategic decisions. In this way, it is integrated into the overarching corporate strategy. The CFO helps in their development and actively shapes them. This can lead from support in strategy setting to implementation of strategic objectives.

However, the modern CFO must not only be able to think and act strategically, but also be a good communicator. As he comes into contact with his company’s key stakeholders, he must have negotiating skills. As a business partner, he must also be able to explain complex issues and get to the heart of the matter. This requires excellent communication skills and a strong sense of storytelling.

One of the tasks in controlling is to no longer be exclusively at home in the pure world of numbers due to the greatly changed dynamics of the markets. So it’s no longer enough to be an expert in P&L, because knowledge of other variables, such as conversion rates, is required as well. Here, it is particularly important to understand how these variables are defined and what influences or drives them.

Suitable software support as an indispensable component

For the identification of the most important drivers of a company, value driver models are increasingly used in the finance department. In addition to internal drivers, external market influences are also taken into account. This is particularly important as it becomes more and more necessary to be able to react agilely to a rapidly changing business environment. For this purpose, software is establishing itself not only as a tool, but increasingly as an essential component for the finance department.

Suitable software solutions help to transparently display the influence of different internal and external factors (drivers) on the financial performance measures of a business model. Most importantly, these driver models can form the basis for simulating different financial scenarios. In this way, various alternative future developments (scenarios) can be viewed at the push of a button. This allows relevant indicators to be identified at an early stage to enable better decisions to be made for the future. Especially in a rapidly changing business environment, it is becoming more and more important to be able to react in real time and to display the effects of certain events quickly and transparently.

However, software solutions are by no means intended to replace controllers. Accordingly, he is not relieved of the responsibility of the decision, but can rely on a better data basis and include it in the decision-making process. Human experiences and insights are indispensable components of the transformation process in companies. Accordingly, new methods and tools will increase the amount of value-creating labor.

Conclusion – new tasks in controlling

From steward of the numbers to data scientist – the CFO of the future must be able to act strategically, have excellent communication skills and increasingly support the CEO in defining corporate strategy. Accordingly, controlling tasks have shifted based on changing business dynamics.

When implementing agile enterprise performane management, the use of suitable software is essential in order to be able to make future-oriented decisions. However, new technologies are not intended to replace controllers, they merely support them and thus enable increased efficiency and better management decisions.

Do you have any further questions? We are happy to help you.

Contact someone from our team of experts now to learn how Valsight can benefit your business.

Interview with Mercedes-Benz Cars

Interview with Mercedes-Benz Cars

In order to be able to assess the effects of future developments such as autonomous driving at the current time, Mercedes-Benz Cars simulates different financial scenarios in Controlling.
Rollin' FWD: Das Interview mit der Commerzbank AG

Rollin' FWD: Das Interview mit der Commerzbank AG

Stefan Pohl and Ines Emde report on the transformation of controlling and the implementation of a group-wide driver-based planning solution at Commerzbank.
Rollin' FWD: The interview with Thalia Books

Rollin' FWD: The interview with Thalia Books

Stefan Liesegang, Head of Controlling at Thalia Bücher, talks about the impact of the digital transformation on book retailing and about forecasting the future in uncertain times.


Telefon:   +49 30 46799044


Phone:   +49 30 46799044