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August 08, 2017
Control from the center to succeed
By: Timothy Klahs

In the game of chess, one common principle is the concept of center control. As the CFO of an organization, you may also consider the idea of control from the center. You see inefficiencies everywhere, such as many operational units that use reports containing the same information but in vastly different formats, with some easy to decipher and others not. Or perhaps you frequently notice the same terms in two reports that stand for different variables—“rec” means receipt in one report and reconciliation in another.

The bigger problem is most individuals in your organization do not seem alarmed by the state of affairs. In fact, they prefer their way because they may have designed the format and content, and it perfectly suits their needs. For the few times they need to look at other operating groups’ reports, it is not a hindrance. Some may even enjoy the face time with their counterparts, as they explain their own idiosyncratic report formats and use the opportunity to have other discussions.

However, for all the decision makers at the center of the organization, it is actually cumbersome, as well as dangerous. Principles of risk and compliance are formalized but not uniformly followed. Instances of lack of control appear to surface randomly, unexpectedly, and sometimes repeatedly with no final accountability.

It’s a chess game, and you want to have more center control. You want to centralize the financial information that flows throughout your organization. For you, whether as a CFO, a financial manager, or an executive, lack of control reflects poorly. You must bring a system of centralized financial control to your organization. However, with so many vested interests in the current way of doing things, it will not be an easy task. After all, not all financial functions belong in a centralized model. You must know which ones to include. You must also know how to negotiate with those whose roles will be changing. It all requires a balanced approach.

Can you walk the tightrope of this process of centralizing financial control? How will you create a balanced model between centralized and decentralized functions? How will you identify and reap all the benefits of centralization? How will you streamline communications to and from the new control centers? The Accenture Academy courses Benefits of Financial Control and Communication Centers, A Balanced Approach to Centralizing Financial Control, Communications in Financial Control Centers, and Best Practices and Issues in Financial Control Centers will help you develop an effective game plan to analyze your current financial control system to migrate toward a more efficient centralized model and to allow for a more efficient and financially well-controlled organization.

About Accenture Academy

Accenture Academy offers proven, cost-effective learning solutions for a more versatile workforce and a more agile organization. We provide a flexible learning approach that helps your people be more versatile and your entire organization be more agile in the marketplace. Curriculum includes Supply Chain Management, Finance, Procurement, Analytics, Leadership & Management and Specialty Skills.

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