It’s back to school today for many students. And, it’s back to work today for controllers facing the first full work week of the year.
So, with that said, I am going to launch my first annual ‘The Everyday Controller’ list of predictions for 2014 in America.
- I predict that the U.S. Government and other governmental bodies should become your new best friend this year. In years past, many small companies have felt safe flying under the radar of compliance. I would suggest that this will not be so easily accomplished. Build a history of compliance with the various agencies you must deal with including the IRS, your state’s environmental division, city and county officials, etc. Regulatory oversight is not going away. Build a proven track record of compliance and you will most likely reduce your company’s overall risk.
- I predict that your skills as a Controller in a growing company will be tested. Companies experiencing rapid growth face their own set of challenges including finding and training new personnel, maintaining internal controls, working capital forecasting and many others. In companies with both a controller and a CFO, the controller is normally working on the frontlines. All controllers should make sure that there are open lines of communications with employees. I cannot tell you how many disasters were averted because someone gave me a heads up. Keep your door open as much as you possibly can.
- I predict that the single greatest challenge you will face in 2014 is keeping all your personnel happy. In today’s world of work, many employees expect the flexibility to be able to attend functions during the day at a child’s school or to utilize FMLA to care for a sick parent. It’s the 21st century. And people want more than just money from their jobs. They want choice, opportunity, challenges, flexibility and to be heard and respected.
- I predict that as a Controller, if you fail to keep up your personal and professional development eventually you will be seen as living in the past, doing things the old way, and even possibly ‘obsolete’. You are a professional. Even if you are not a CPA or CMA, you should take advantage of the courses offered for them. Take a course on Internal Control, or Tax. There are a number of courses that are specific to industry such as construction and the restaurant business. Find ways to interact with others in your profession.
It is too easy to live your life at work careening from one crisis, one fire, to another. If you don’t come to life except when something has gone wrong, you probably need to start building in a daily routine. Develop projects you want to work on. For instance an accounting manual for your company may be needed. If you’re on an Exchange Server developing some of its capabilities. Have a set time each week to meet with your staff. Maybe even an hour or two a week for that professional development track.
Finally, having lived and traveled across the world, I can safely say that America is the business engine of the world. You should be proud to be a part of that no matter how large or small.