The 41st Controller Day took place as one of the first in person events for a long time. The event organized by the Controller Institute at the beginning of June brought CFOs, CEOs, controllers and digitization experts together at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. The majority of the participants used the opportunity for a personal exchange of expertise and were on site. The lectures covered the entire spectrum – from the standardization of ERP systems in international companies to sophisticated analyzes and forecasts with controlling technology. We were there with our blue mascot Smartofant and would like to summarize some of the most exciting findings from it for you:
The motto: 'From Slow to Grow'
“From Slow to Grow” was the motto of the Controller Day this year and crisis-ridden companies, but also crisis winners, reported on their experiences. Both had challenges to master. Scenario analyzes and what-if analyzes were identified as particularly helpful during the crisis. Precise forecasts, with or without artificial intelligence, also served as useful tools for data-supported decision-making.
Different digitization processes and requirements of controlling departments
The different requirements of companies in the Controlling department have clearly emerged: service companies, manufacturing companies, energy suppliers, and much more. shared their experiences with digitization in controlling. The top subject areas were just as diverse as the companies present – S&OP, project portfolio controlling, integrated corporate planning, etc. Many companies, such as the Radisson Hotel Group, Wienerberger or Palfinger AG, made extensive increases in the efficiency of their internationally active companies through digitization processes (and a review of the tedious process until then). The guest speaker Matthias Strolz summed up what the use cases impressively demonstrated: The crisis must be used as an opportunity and irritation be seen as the mother of innovation.
Controlling Excellence: The Necessity of Introducing Performance Controlling
In a lecture on scenario-based, integrated corporate planning, Wilhelm Bayer from s-IMMO demonstrated the influence of over 50 value drivers live in the controlling solution that has been introduced. Since the complex planning and simulation previously carried out with Excel was very unstable, the decision was made to purchase a planning tool. The aim of the very small controlling department was to act as a partner for investor relations and risk management with reliable, agile planning and to reduce the dependence on specialist knowledge. Today the Head of Finance & Controlling is prepared for spontaneous management questions and M & As.
The specialist audience was very open to digitization in controlling and supporting controlling technologies. Above all, up-to-date, comprehensive and reliable insights into the company’s own data were identified as essential advantages. What is certain is that management support is a key success factor.
Controlling as 'crisis fire brigade' - findings from Controlling Panel 2021
The current study “Controlling Panel 2021”, which was presented at the opening speech of the Controller Day, also showed exciting findings. The majority of the 240 respondents stated that in their opinion the importance of controlling had increased (during the crisis) and that controllers had to react quickly to current challenges. The term “crisis fire brigade” fits well here. More than half of the study participants also see themselves as a “driver of change” and 85% of those surveyed are sure that the crisis will change work processes in controlling and that the proportion of virtual collaboration will increase over the long term. Here the circle comes back to supporting controlling tools, which with an integrated communication and collaboration function not only enable smooth collaboration, but also the tracking of assigned tasks and initiatives.
After the use cases, the selection process for controlling software was often discussed. In the process, essential decision-making criteria such as the flexibility of adapting to company / industry specifics and the competence of the implementation / consulting team (already at the proof of concept) were identified. More on this in a current smartPM blog post.
Joke or truth?
During the final comedy interlude of the controller day, the cabaret artist addressed many of the truths of the digital age – from smartphone zombies (smombies) to just 27 minutes of concentrated work in front of the screen to numerous unnecessary online meetings without a goal or end in sight.