accounting professor

The “Is Your Operational Controlling Function Incompetent?”​ Checklist

Operational Controlling is a much different animal than Financial Controlling; it is all about working closely with the operating units in a Finance Business Partner capacity to ensure that operations are as cost-effective and efficient as possible in supporting strategy execution.

A great Operational Controlling team will be data-savvy, analytical, and flexible to satisfy the business’s needs. 


Take a look at the questions below to see how you stack up. 

  1. Are inventory fluctuations analyzed and understood?

  2. Are manufacturing variances analyzed and understood?

  3. Is the business involved in the discussions and review of variances?

  4. Are the main cost drivers identified and tracked daily/weekly/monthly with the manufacturing plant and business? Are drivers specific and focused on actionable information?

  5. Are the COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) understood and accurate?

  6. Is a process in place to match the sales for the period with the costs of producing those units sold instead of just the units produced?

  7. Are there processes in place to value the inventory at the actual, not standard, value each month/quarter/year?

  8. Are reports lackluster, basic, flat, and one-dimensional or are the reporting tools used as dynamic storytelling devices?

  9. Does the business have unanswered questions around the COGS (Cost of Goods Sold)?

  10. Is the CM (Contribution Margin) per SKU (Stock Keeping Item) or manufacturing line understood and accurate?

  11. Are there concerns about profitable products subsidizing unprofitable products?

  12. Are analytical models built as reusable tools-> insert data, “magic happens,” out pops analysis? Or is each analysis exercise a single-use manual approach?

  13. Does the controller attend and substantially participate in leadership and operations meetings? Is their voice considered when making decisions? Are they relied on to produce vital information?

  14. Do analysis workbooks contain data for both the current and prior year where users can dynamically shift the analytics to any period? Or are single-period flat reports produced?

  15. Does the controller hold influence? Do they know the inside facts, figures, and happenings and act as a conduit of information? Do they know how the story before the results are published?

Updated: 5/23/2023

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