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The role of the controller
2004 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The concept of the business Controller, which in its present form is related to financial and economic responsibilities within companies, is an American concept that was introduced in the late 19th century. The concept has since conquered the world and is by now a well-known apponitment. Still there is no universal definition attributed to it, and this causes serious confusion concerning what a Controller is actually supposed to do. We have therefore chosen to try to identify the role of the business Controller in American companies and compare this to the role of the Swedish Controlller and finally, explain any differences as well as the nature of the origin of these differences. The research was based on an earlier study made on large Swedish companies, from which we constructed a questionnaire that was presented to representatives for large American companies. Next we undertook a series of interviews with knowledgeable Swedish Controllers in order to obtain a deeper understanding of the differences identified, as well as to ensure that our findings were accurate. Through our questionnaire we learned that American Controllers regard internal and external accounting and budgeting as important tasks. Swedish Controllers on the other hand regards reporting as the most important area. This does not imply that any of the areas investigated are unimportant. It merely suggests that the areas are prioritized differently. Nevertheless, all areas considered important by the respondents can be considered as quite traditional accounting tasks, something we found somewhat contradictory to much of the current literature on the subject, which advocates the view of a more strategic role associsted to the business Controller. Furthermore, we found differences concerning desirable traits held by Swedish and American Controllers. For instance, creativity and flexibility were considered important traits in Sweden whilst they were almost considered undesirable in the USA. At the same time, Americans ranked leadership highly whilst the Swedes did not. However, it also became clear that controllers in both countries have to be able to process and analyze economic information and, perhaps even more importantly, be able to communicate this information throughout the organisatíon. Thus, it has been clearly shown that, as well as there are similarities, there are indeed also significant differences in national and corporate cultures, which is also the very reason why a consistent and international defintion to attribute to the business Controller is hard to identify.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Social Behaviour Law, Controller, Comptroller, American management, Swedish, management, Strategic management, corporate culture
Keyword [sv]
Samhälls-, beteendevetenskap, juridik
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-44489ISRN: LTU-SHU-EX--04/187--SELocal ID: 248328b4-053f-4ce6-926f-aad95672ab6eOAI: diva2:1017768
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
Educational program
Business Administration, bachelor's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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