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The Future Of Financial Controlling (1) – Defining the Commercial Finance Controller Job

Finance controller's job is to watch the money flow.

Finance controller’s job is to watch the money flow.

Looking how the commercial finance functions have developed in the last 15 years, one cannot pass easily over the ascent of a new breed: the finance controller. Nowadays almost every multinational company has one individual who acts as an interface between the business and its numbers/accounting functions. We talk here about the controller, that strange animal who is neither a finance manager nor a finance director or accounting manager, but a bit of everything.
This controlling blog that starts here tries to capture just that paradox: how has it come that controlling became such an important function in the multinational companies? What is the role of the controller? How can she or he evolve professionally and as a business partner to add better value to the employers? How can we mitigate the stress and the high turnover associated with the jobs of our finance controllers?
Today we will start our controlling blog series with a(n apparently) small question – what is a finance controller?, which is a dominantly US site, defines a finance controller job as the budget gate-keepers – in other words as the persons who control the financial flow of funds through the organization. As such, a finance controller is both a gate keeper (in a sense that he/she elaborates and implements the accounting and safeguarding policies of the company) as well as a master financial analyst of the relevant data flows in the corporations.Read More »The Future Of Financial Controlling (1) – Defining the Commercial Finance Controller Job

Eurozone Crisis – Germany in Recession in 2013

Yes, you read it right. Germany might go into a mild recession in 2013. IMF has recently revised the economic growth figure (GDP year-on-year) from +1.6% to +1%. Whilst this does nor mean technically any recession, it also shows that the economy is very close to not growth. With a country highly dependent of machinery and high-tech exports to a weak global economy, Eurozone also looks to 2013 as another year of stagnation.
But why do we mention recession for Germany? Our investment blog team thinks that the chances to get there are increasing. The problem is that Germany is one of the few top 10 economies not to have suffered any recession so far. Usually, Germany is not leading, but lagging in terms of crisis the other major economies (US, Japan, France). Read More »Eurozone Crisis – Germany in Recession in 2013

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else – A Book Review

Recently I was given the chance to have a sneak peak preview of the incoming book hit of Penguin called “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else” (by Chrystia Freeland). And I was impressed. Usually I rarely read books which kind of detour me from the big goal of becoming a better investor. However, this Penguin books release falls in the “invest in yourself” category. “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else” is a book about the new global financial elite. And even more important, this book tells the stories of how these people got there and how they are maintaining they sweet number one spot, whilst the rest of the world… well, just advances slower.
The book is fascinating. It starts laying out the facts and the figures – we all know the number of billionaires, but we know very little beyond the topline of the yearly Forbes articles. “Plutocrats” goes beyond that of course and does the nice job of showing the context. Which brings me to my “strategic advantage” MBA course. The “Plutocrats” book brings back some nice learnings from there. What actually these super-rich people do is to exploit pockets of competitive advantage in their favor. What the plutocrats do is also to build fences (“barriers of entry”) around these strongholds in order to prevent other people entering their and dilluting their competitive advantage. What the MBA course said was that these strongholds suffer during the years a process of strategic decay. And naturally, the plutocrats must get smarter and smarter in finding new ways of increasing or even maintaining their fortunes. Which they do in very interesting ways…
“Plutocrats” is a fascinating story of the super-rich stories. The Penguin book has also some surprising conclusions. For example, the most striking one is that the richest people on planet are the most intelligent ones – over 70% hold doctoral degrees and they invest huge amounts of money into their family’s education. So forget about getting very rich unless you are (not “you think you are”!) very smart and worked hard very early in your lifetime.Read More »Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else – A Book Review