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Meeting The New Normal - The Evolving Roles of Controllers and CFOs

Written by: FloQast

We’ve all heard the term “the new normal” a few too many times over the last couple of years as employees and companies alike have navigated a global pandemic and the resulting changes to the way businesses operate. With these changes come challenges – but also awesome opportunities – for finance and accounting teams.

The rising demand for strategic leadership and the technological improvements to make such an emphasis possible are all coming together. The moment for controllers and CFOs to rise to a new normal and contribute more strategically to their organizations is right now. 

The New Face of the Financial Controller

The controller’s job has traditionally been challenging but straightforward— some may say even tedious at times. Everything needs to balance, tie out, reconcile, and make sense so the team can go home with another successful monthly close. That monthly close was the main project — if not the sole focus — of the controller. Now, technology and increasing demands from company leadership are really changing that focus.

Accounting automation through technology allows teams to execute repetitive tasks with little to no effort – a controller’s dream. These tools make it easy to organize and coordinate the close while streamlining reconciliations and allowing compliance and housekeeping tasks to be finished sooner, allowing controllers and their teams to focus on adding value in other areas.

Moving Beyond the Close

Along with shepherding the financial close, controllers are also tasked with managing the accounting team. With the chaos presented by COVID, strong accounting leadership is needed more than ever. 

For many companies, several things have changed all at once. First, the rise in remote and hybrid work models have made it more complex to manage a process like the monthly close. Fortunately, automation relieves some of this burden and makes it simpler to collaborate regardless of time-zone, location, etc. Secondly, many teams have been short-staffed, impacted by illness but also hiring and retention challenges.

With these new challenges and teams stretched thin, leadership becomes crucial. Controllers are stepping up as these leaders and using the time freed up by automation to offer more support for their teams. Ultimately, the goal is to develop an efficient team that has a foundation rooted in collaboration, proactive mindsets, and support at every level. This leads to happier teams and more resourceful and innovative solutions to accounting problems.

Controllers aren’t only taking on more leadership within companies and a more strategic role. Automation and AI allow controllers to utilize their accounting skills and solve more big-picture problems. What was once the realm of the CFO is becoming the domain of the controller.

CFO of the Future

As Controllers take on new responsibilities, so too do CFOs. The business landscape and economic conditions are shifting so quickly that companies need to make more strategic decisions in real-time to survive, and those decisions need to be tied to real financial data. While most CFOs have years of experience making tough financial decisions and analyzing the data, few have been asked to work so closely to the operational side of the business. This is a major opportunity for added value from the CFO. 

 The CFO of the future will bring deep financial knowledge to the table in actionable and operational ways. They will collaborate with the CEO, the sales and marketing teams, and others to translate financial data into real-world strategies to overcome the unprecedented challenges we’re facing today. The role will be as much about communication and storytelling as analysis and number crunching. 

Opportunity for the Future

Both Controllers and CFOs have a unique opportunity to embrace the changes of the last few years to provide more operational value to their organizations by leveraging technology and driving more strategic leadership. The time is now.

Interested in Learning More?

Join the FloQast team on August 24th for a webinar on ‘The Rise of Operational Accounting’ as we explore the new mandate of operational excellence and the implication this shift has on finance and accounting teams, including controllers and CFOs.


About FloQast

FloQast is the leading provider of accounting workflow automation created by accountants for accountants. By automating common accounting workflows and helping to streamline and make them more efficient, FloQast is the place where accounting teams want to work so they can focus on what matters most, even when that’s just going home on time.

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