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FCs take on more strategic role

A report published by
Ernst
& Young
, The changing role of the financial
controller
, which interviewed FTSE-350 FCs, shows that the priorities for
the next five years have seen a substantial change.

For the past five years, the second most important consideration was keeping
up to date with legislative and technical changes. This year, improving the
profile of finance in the business has jumped from sixth place to second, while
recruitment has remained the number one priority throughout.

The report also highlights the changing expectations of the FC as finance
directors become more involved in strategic decisions in the business.

Paul Blackburn, FC at GlaxoSmithKline, says: “The difference between the CFO
and the FC is that the controller is more like the financial operating officer.
They make sure everything is running well, there are no surprises and the audits
are good. The CFO keeps on top of the numbers, but has a big external focus in
positioning the company with our investors.” The priorities ranked in order are:

• Recruiting skilled financial personnel;
• Improving the profile of the finance function within the business;
• Increased demand for information ­ volume, complexity and speed;
• Improving processes;
• Increased workload;
• Risk management;
• Keeping up to date with legislative and technical changes;
• Increased scrutiny from third-party stakeholders;
• Use of technology; and
• Increasing controls.
Increasing controls dropped from sixth to ninth place and risk management jumped
from seventh to fifth.

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