Controllership: what is it, types and what function?

Companies that maintain efficient controllership are less likely to suffer big losses or even to compromise their survival and go bankrupt.

Nor is it necessary to rely on studies for this type of statement: it is enough to analyze the impacts of the action on the results.

After all, the controllership area compiles and facilitates access to financial and accounting data , supporting decision making by managers .

Previously restricted to the accounting function, the segment has expanded its horizons to meet the needs of the current market – that is what we will explain in this article.

From now on, you will deepen your knowledge of the role, importance and main types of controllership .

These are the topics we’ll cover from now on:

  • What is controllership?
  • What is the role of controllership?
  • What is the importance of controllership?
  • Controllership types
  • What does financial controllership do?
  • What is the role of controllership within a company?
  • What does a person who controls a company do?

If the subject matters, follow up until the end. Good reading!

What is controllership?

What is controllership?

Controllership is a segment of Accounting Sciences that collaborates for quality management, coordinating budgetary and administrative issues.

This area can also be seen as a product of the evolution of accounting which, despite being fundamental to the structure of any organization, ended up being restricted to technical tools and processes .

Accounting started in a practical way in Brazil when, in the 19th century, American multinationals settled in the country.

At the time, foreign experts came to teach the fundamentals of this discipline to Brazilian professionals hired by multinationals.

The idea was that they would be able to implement an information system that would serve the different types of accounting users – managers, employees, investors and partners.

At that time, the control of accounting operations was already highlighted among the priorities of the sector, being commented through financial statements.

However, these statements were not always understood by managers and business decision makers, who, for the most part, did not have knowledge of accounting techniques and terms .

The employees specialized in this area, in turn, did not present the data in a more dynamic way, nor were they able to show its impacts on the company, since they did not have a systemic view.

Then, around the 1960s, a function was created to meet the demands of managers and maintain control of financial and administrative operations .

It was the controllership.

What is the role of controllership?

What is the role of controllership?

In a simple way, we can say that the role of controllership is to cooperate for efficient management , keeping business healthy and profitable.

This brief definition illustrates the complexity of the functions that this area may have, depending on the business and sector in which it operates.

Trying to define these responsibilities, the Financial Executives Institute (FEI) published, in the 1960s, a compilation with seven basic activities of controllership, which we detail below.

Planning and control

It brings together the main actions performed by the controllership in order to put together a plan aligned with the mission and objectives of an organization.

For this, information is collected on cost patterns, fixed and variable expenses so that it is possible to plan sales of products and services that not only cover expenses, but also generate returns with customers.

With these data in hand, it is possible to make a realistic forecast of profits and ways to increase these returns, such as their application in investment funds .

Interpreting reports

We mentioned above that understanding the statements was a problem for most managers until the 20th century.

In fact, this issue still represents a barrier today, especially for entrepreneurs and small business owners who have no prior knowledge of a company’s accounting.

Thus, it is up to the controllership to compare what was planned with the result itself, making the interpretation of the recorded information.

Evaluation and Consulting

Based on reports and other records, the controllership can analyze the management segments , their effectiveness and adequacy to the organization’s objectives and policies .

In a company that plans to expand in the near future, for example, it is possible to check whether resources are being wasted and that all departments are doing their part in the plan.

At the end of this assessment, strengths and those that need improvement will become evident.

Tax management

Managing tax procedures and policies is important, especially if the organization is located in a country with a lot of bureaucracy, like Brazil.

Hence the importance of monitoring these activities frequently, avoiding non-compliance with laws and regulations , which would generate fines and other losses for the company, financial or not.

Government Reports

Depending on the country and sector in which the company operates, there are a number of documents and reports that must be sent to government entities.

Usually, these documents are prepared by specialists , however, the controllership must accompany these professionals and, when necessary, assist in the composition of the contents.

Asset protection

Like the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU), which must protect the assets of the Brazilian State, the controllers of organizations need to protect their assets.

This task is carried out through internal controls , such as audits , and by contracting insurance for some assets.

Economic evaluation

In addition to the internal scenario, it is useful for the controllership to keep an eye on the country’s market and economy , anticipating risks and needs for adaptation, for example, to new technologies.

The government’s tools and influence should also be analyzed, highlighting the developments for the business in the short, medium and long term.

What is the importance of controllership?

What is the importance of controllership?

Controllership plays a fundamental role in the analysis of the company’s financial health , as it gathers data on each transaction, investment, revenue and costs.

Their reports point to signs of waste, inadequacy and, in critical cases, even reveal misappropriation of money.

In addition to providing information to increase profits, organizations that have internal control support a cost reduction policy .

Since profit comes from the difference between the price of a product or service and production costs, having this support makes a difference and increases competitiveness.

After all, the price is usually determined by the market, which is a force outside the company’s control zone .

J costs can be worked on to reduce unnecessary expenses.

In this context, creating cost reduction mechanisms is a smart way out, but one that needs care so that the product or service does not lose value with the customer .

Who has never been disappointed with a product that has lowered the price, but also dropped in quality, right?

In order for this not to happen, it is necessary to invest in cost optimization , including taking measures that, in the beginning, may increase the amount spent on production but, after a short time, result in greater profits.

That’s where controllership comes in.

This area accounts for one of the four factors that contribute to cost optimization:

  • Operational processes
  • Organizational structure
  • Adequate information and investments in technology
  • Internal controls.

Considering that all services, products and processes performed by an organization have the purpose of generating value for the customer – internal (employees) or external (consumer) -, controllership obtains references from a broad and systemic view .

Instead of focusing only on cash, its evaluation allows revenues, expenses and costs to be worked together, prioritizing more efficient processes.

In other words, the company starts to produce more , using less time and other resources.

Controllership types

Controllership types

Organizations that structure their internal control do this using different models .

There are those that do not even have a department or body called controllership, as they prefer to distribute their functions among other areas, such as Planning, Finance and Accounting.

Others choose to concentrate internal control activities in a single figure – the controller , who coordinates support for managers.

We will talk more about this professional in the next topics.

In any case, the most common is that the department, controller or activities related to controllership are oriented to one of the following two major segments.

Accounting and tax controllership

It includes tasks traditionally performed by accounting departments, such as to comply with legislation and inspection, reports and asset control of company assets.

This segment covers:

  • Cost accounting
  • Financial Accounting
  • Asset control
  • Tax accounting.

Planning Controlling

It encompasses more strategic and proactive functions, related to business management , projections, simulations, cost analysis and company performance.

Its main activities include:

  • Management accounting
  • Liability accounting (with the aid of performance reviews)
  • Specific studies to increase the organization’s efficiency
  • Tax planning
  • Budget and projections.

Another format used to classify the types of controllership is based on the needs of the company , emphasizing some characteristics that should be prioritized by internal control.

According to this classification, there are 4 main types.

Let’s go to them!

Decision Model

Defines actions focused on supporting company leaders in the search for more assertive decisions for different issues.

In this model, controllership helps the manager to identify the problem, formulate different solutions, analyze the consequences of each one and obtain reliable arguments for his choice.

Management model

It is one of the most common among organizations, as it works to align people’s actions with the institution’s vision, mission and values.

In this sense, internal control turns to planning, scheduling and task monitoring activities.

Information Model

Ensures the collection, storage and analysis of important materials for the management of the company’s material and human resources .

To this end, it focuses on processes involving information technologies, databases and software that help in their analysis, in addition to directing information to sectors and strategic employees.

Measurement Model

It is usually adopted when there is a constant need to measure results, comparing planning to what actually happened.

This model is useful for knowing and choosing metrics or evaluation indicators (such as ROI – return on investment), which provide accurate assessments of budget impacts.

What does financial controllership do?

What does financial controllership do?

As we explained in the previous topics, finance management is usually coordinated or evaluated by the controllership.

Since its inception, this area includes activities related to the financial and accounting department , which explains the existence, for example, of financial controllership within an organization.

This fact indicates that its managers value financial operations, dedicating special attention and control to them.

Financial controllership takes care, mainly, of the necessary tasks for the elaboration of a well-structured budget planning , prioritizing financial health.

Therefore, it collects data, composes reports and presents indications to improve money management within the company, making the balance of entries and exits at each period.

A classic example of its performance occurs in the identification and tracking of unusual situations.

If, after a sales action , there is no record of the entry of expected values, this information will attract the attention of the financial controller, who will be able to trace its origin.

One of the sellers may have given a discount, a customer may have failed to pay, or perhaps the purchases were paid in installments via bank slip.

If the reason is not found, it may be hidden in more serious conduct , such as the diversion of funds or its improper reallocation, which will be revealed in audits.

Even if it has specific activities, financial controllership is usually performed together with accounting, to facilitate a global analysis of the business.

After all, apparent failures or deviations can be the result of small slips, such as the lack of registration of a payment or invoice, accounts placed on automatic debit and not communicated, among others.

What is the role of controllership within a company?

What is the role of controllership within a company?

We have already talked in this text about the general functions of controllership.

Now, it’s time to highlight the five sectors closest to that segment.

Follow each of them below.

Accounting

The sector gathers the basic activities related or coordinated by the controllership, such as the maintenance of the department itself and the efficiency of the accounts payable and receivable system .

Account planning, reporting, payroll management, issuing financial statements and updating according to legislative changes are other common tasks.

It is also up to internal control to manage the responsibilities of accounting employees and contractors.

Business

Fostering relations with creditors, guaranteeing payment of debts and controlling cash are some functions related to the area.

It is also worth mentioning the organization of banking services , study of the best options and investment of profits, release of credit for customers and insurance contracting.

Administration

In this field, internal control serves mainly to evaluate and monitor projects , hiring temporary labor when necessary.

It also looks after the assets and acquires new materials for the administrative department.

Information Technology

We commented earlier on the importance of information technology for the collection and storage of data.

Devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones can be equipped with programs that automatically record and save information , building company databases.

This compilation of data is extremely relevant for correcting failures and identifying successful actions – that is why controllership works in partnership with IT employees.

Together, they guarantee backups , data recovery plans, installation and management of security software (such as antivirus), program selection and employee training.

Human Resources

The main resources of any organization are the people who build it and, therefore, the HR department deserves special attention.

In order to comply with labor legislation , internal control acts in the organization and administration of safety training, considering the particularities of each company.

Benefit, pension or bonus plans are another part monitored by the controllership, which is responsible for ensuring good practices .

Hiring, career plans , process analysis and compensation claims also fall within the scope of internal control.

What does a person who controls a company do?

What does a person who controls a company do?

The activities depend on the controllership model adopted and the hierarchical level of this employee.

If the company does not have a department dedicated solely to controllership, analysts, coordinators and managers from other areas are likely to conduct tasks related to internal control .

Those who have a department or even a single professional in charge of controllership can centralize these demands in a more organized way.

In general, the professional in front of them is called a controller or controller, and has extensive experience in sectors such as Administration and Accounting, combined with great communication skills to make reporting simpler .

Alexandre Sanches Garcia, author of the book “ Introduction to controllership: Basic instruments for controlling companies ‘ management ” points out the main tasks of the controller in the current job market:

  • Preparation of financial planning (budget and forecast)
  • Composition of management reports in order to support decision making to the organization’s board of directors
  • Implementation and review of processes and controls
  • Monitoring and analysis of monthly financial reports
  • Coordination of strategic planning , construction of economic scenarios and competitive analysis
  • Confirmation of the economic viability of investment projects.

Conclusion

Did you like to know more about the universe of controllership in companies?

If you have any suggestions, complements or questions, leave a comment below.

For those interested in the internal control area, it is possible to start a career through a degree in Administration , such as the course offered by the Fundação Instituto de Administração (FIA)

 

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