Financial Controller Leadership in the Digital Era

Strengthen internal controls, increase efficiencies and support automation.

Can your finance team support a digital future?

Digitalization is inevitable, and forward-thinking corporate controllers are exploring robotic process automation (RPA) to optimize efficiencies across their workforce. But to achieve the full benefits of RPA, controllers need to restructure their teams to enable automated work, free from human interference.

Download the case study to learn how Neela, a global television company realized the full value of RPA by:

  • Creating specialized RPA roles that are distinct from traditional accounting work and focus on RPA performance
  • Screening RPA role candidates for mindset first, then competencies and skills 
  • Redesigning roles to maximize the benefit from the extra capacity RPA creates as a larger proportion of accounting work moves to RPA

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    We had a $15 million contract with a software vendor, with the terms and conditions that changed every six months. The contract covered everybody in the company, and an audit could cost $3 million to $10 million. The Gartner analyst’s guidance helped us avoid $3 million annually, and $9 million over the next three years.

    Energy Provider
    Critical Responsibilities of the Corporate Controller - 3 essential focus areas

    How can financial controllers adapt to new ways of working?

    Traditional financial statements and models are no longer sufficient for modern organizations; in a post-COVID-19 world, teams are fragmented and require full flexibility. To contribute to business success, financial controllers must harness digital technology and support automation in a way that maximizes efficiencies across accounting and operations and effectively prepares their organizations for the future.

    How can Financial Controllers adapt to new ways of working?

    Traditional financial statements and models are no longer sufficient for modern organizations; in a post-COVID world, teams are fragmented and require full flexibility. To contribute to business success, Financial Controllers must harness digital technology and support automation in a way that maximizes efficiencies across accounting and operations and effectively prepares their organizations for the future.

    How can you be a more effective financial controller?

    Finance leaders need to ensure their teams are equipped with modern-day skills and knowledge, as well as updated tools and methodologies. By building stronger and more effective finance and accounting teams, financial controllers are able to deliver faster, better results in the future workplace.

    Finance's Digital Skills Gap - data, technology and social competencies are lacking.

    Insights you can use

    A financial controller is vital to an organization — especially in times of crisis or economic downturn — as they help to maintain business goals, strategic direction and commercial viability. Gartner is at the forefront of modern workforce challenges. Our methodologies, tools and expert knowledge drive innovation and improve fiscal performance.

    Management Reporting Playbook

    Reporting can range from basic calendar-based financial reporting through to integrated on-demand reporting. This growing range of financial reporting can dramatically influence the ability to make critical decisions in a timely manner. But while accounting leaders feel that financial reporting is highly accurate, it often fails to provide stakeholders with the insights required to make better business decisions. That’s why ensuring your enterprise is “decision ready” is critical.

    Design a lean, high-performing finance team

    Organizational restructures are aimed at reducing costs and improving productivity. But when it comes to accounting, what are the best financial models? Every enterprise is unique; our research shows what structures and roles drive positive outcomes.

    Prepare Finance for Digitalization

    Finance digitalization entails the integration of multiple technologies and strategies that enable the finance function to deliver value in the digital age. Identify proven practices to prepare for a digital world and implement digital technologies across accounting processes, including financial data integration, digital-ready ERP and advanced analytic forecasting.

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    Modernizing the Finance Processes and Function

    Discover how Gartner for Finance helped the CFO of Jaycar Electronics, Australia’s leading electronics retail company, modernize the company’s finance processes and team as a part of their three-year finance strategy.

    Finance controller: Frequently asked questions

    The financial controller is responsible for managing all finance and accounting operations of an organization. As an executive role, they’re responsible for developing or having oversight on the development of:

    • Financial strategy, including risk minimization and opportunity forecasting
    • Managing financial reporting, analysis and accounting operations
    • Cost reductions and efficiencies across the organization
    • Tax statements and payments across the organization
    • Compliance with statutory law and financial regulations
    • Investment advice

    Financial controllers oversee all finance-related decision making, financial processes development, investment opportunities and management, stakeholder liaisons and various other accounting and finance-based responsibilities. They play a critical role in identifying opportunities to improve efficiencies across the finance operations of the business. This includes cost-efficiencies and talent management, as well as important technological upgrades and implementations to automate financial functions.

    In addition, effective financial controllers need to be able to clearly communicate their findings and analytical data back to executives in a visualized way, to secure their support or sponsorship on major initiatives that have the potential to increase organizational revenue or output.

    There are several ways a great financial controller can add value to their organization. Like any executive role, one of your key strengths should be stakeholder management, along with the ability to manage down as well as manage up to the executives in the boardroom. Value-adds can also include:

    • Talent management: Finding the right people to fill the skills gaps or knowledge shortages on your team
    • Data analysis and insights: Understanding and communicating data trends and discovery to key stakeholders clearly and effectively
    • Digitalization and automation of data: Understanding and embracing technology in data analytics and implementing higher quality data technology

    To be an effective financial controller, you must first and foremost be an established accountant or financial professional. Key skills to help you succeed in this type of role include:

    • Strategic planning abilities
    • Data analysis and communication
    • Process improvement and optimization
    • People management
    • Technology advancements and implementation

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    Gartner for Finance provides insights, advice and tools to help finance leaders make the right decisions to drive business results.