Is Your Business Controller Controlling You?

Business Controller

4 min read

At MGA, we often see a recurring theme when business owners ask us to look at their company’s accounting practices. At times, they are looking for high-level management reporting. At other times, they need their controller to better project cash flows or give them a clearer dashboard of their financial performance on a more regular basis.

There seems to be something happening with their business controller. 

We don’t know why but in many of these cases, the controllers are quite literally controlling the boss!

The meeting almost always starts the same way. We’ll be sitting with the controller, the business owner having prepped us that their controller is not happy about him/her bringing in outside help. A fresh perspective seems to be a threat to the controller. The owner will ask us to use kid gloves. We will have to be careful of what we say.

This defensiveness on the part of the controller is unfortunate but all too common. But is the controller controlling the business? And you?

We just wanted to better understand their accounting systems.The reason we are there in the first place is to lend a hand, bring a new perspective, and give that business owner the reassurance that their controller is really doing a great job, or the hard message that maybe he or she isn’t.

At MGA, we believe that the best controllers provide what bosses want, anticipate what they need, and help them sleep at night, assured that their company’s accounting and financials are being run exceptionally well. If a boss has a request that is not doable, the controller should find another way to get that information for the owner.

After all, that’s their job — finding solutions to turn financial data into usable information, yielding easily accessible and understandable insights.

Why should the boss have to chase the controller?

Every business owner is watching sales, service, customer engagement, shipping, production, innovation — and the books (that are supposed to reflect how the AR, AP cash flow, P&L, and all the other key data points are doing). Why is he or she also chasing the controller?

The big gaps in the process that controllers and owners are faced with are not mysteries. Typically, we find owners wanting to know:

  • Cash flow projections
  • Are costs being controlled properly?
  • Are your reports reflecting the business and providing you with the right KPIs so you know where you are and where you are going?
  • What kinds of efficiencies should the company be putting into place?
  • Are the financials correct?
  • Are the financial and accounting processes efficient? Are we using the latest technology that will improve our financials, reporting, and responsiveness?

We get panicked calls from business owners who want us to come over right away to “check if my financials are right."

We just did this for someone. He said to us, “I feel like I’m being held hostage.” His controller had become very powerful, and the owner was actually scared to confront him, fire him, demote him, or make any sort of change. We know how hard it is to change. This was not an unusual situation.

If this scenario sounds familiar to you as a business owner, you are not alone. The good news is that you don’t have to run your business this way. There is an alternative — you do not have to be held hostage by your controller.

3 Ways We Can Help You Change Your Situation for the Better

  1. The transition to a new platform and controller or an outsourced solution is scary. Transitions seem to be more work and more fearful than staying with the problems you have now. Our solution: We work with you to set up the transition process in stages so you can see how we are going to address your issues systematically.
  2. Second, our cloud-based systems allow you to always see what you need when you need it.
  3. Third, our job is to help you do your job, easily and accurately. You are the customer, you are the boss. We build our approach around your company’s needs and your own style of operating.

Meet Our F.A.S.T. Team

At MGA, we call our business consultants F.A.S.T. (Finance Accounting Support Team). The highly-trained experts on our F.A.S.T. team can successfully transition all of your finance and accounting systems, providing whatever level of service you need, from processing all the way up to CFO services.

It all starts with an assessment of what will work best for your business, then a solid plan.

Yes, we have unparalleled expertise in accounting/finance, tax accounting, and assurance. But to determine which of these will best service your company’s requirements, we first forge a close relationship with you, beginning with an Accounting Efficiency Project to assess your current financials, accounting staff, and your financial needs.

Learn More About Our F.A.S.T. Team

At MGA, our number one goal is helping you build your business with the right systems, the right processes, and the right support team in place. How do we do that? By our team working with yours, every step of the way.

We take your complex problems and find simpler solutions.

Let's talk!

December 17, 2017