A Business Controller helps the management of a business with the financial housekeeping. The main focus is on the planning and control cycle within a company, which consists of financial reports, investment analyses, cost settlements, balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, budgets, the annual accounts, and multi-year planning. Another important task is to improve operational processes and controls.
A business controller also looks at the optimisation of processes. Together with the operations manager, the business controller explores elevating the processes to a higher level and draws up the relevant plans.
Financial controller vs business controller
The positions of financial controller and business controller may seem similar, but they are different functions with different tasks and responsibilities. The financial controller is primarily concerned with the financial aspect of the company. Compiling financial reports, analysing the results and communicating these within the organisation. In contrast, the analyses by the business controller should lead to more efficient use of resources within the company, and thus cost saving.
Business controllers within the organisation
The business controller usually reports directly to management. The managers draw up a strategy for the future, after which the business controller translates this strategy into measurable objectives, also known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Processes are made measurable and adjusted over time so that long-term objectives are achieved. Advice and insights to management are therefore crucial in order to make timely adjustments.
Activities of the business controller include:
- Translating strategic management objectives into measurable KPIs;
- Knowing the ins and outs of the market, making predictions for the future based on this;
- Analyses of the business processes and reporting these to the management;
- Monitoring budgets;
- Initiating improvement processes and maintaining control of implementation;
- Carrying out commercial analyses and sketching strategic scenario analyses.
As business controller you are responsible for the following:
- Control of business processes and budgeting;
- Reporting findings to management, so that timely adjustments can be made to achieve the objectives;
- Maintaining contact with internal and external stakeholders.
Virtually every business controller must meet the following requirements:
- Often, a MSc financial-oriented degree;
- Hands-on mentality and the ability to work independently;
- Good communication skills in both Dutch and English;
- Solid analytical skills.