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The number crunching business partner: A case study on the role of the controller
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Most recent research show that the role of the modern controller has changed from thetraditional bean counter towards a business partner role. However, all literature does notagree with this notion, claiming that the controller is still more of a bean counter. Further,what it actually means to be a business partner also differs between researchers. The rolechange has also brought several new challenges for the controller. The purpose of this studyis to examine what it means to be a controller at a consultancy company in the IT industry,and what challenges and opportunities exist for business partnering. This is achieved usingcase study as the research design, including qualitative data from interviews of ten controllersof different seniority. The findings are analyzed through a theoretical framework consistingof role theory combined with previous literature on the topic. The findings of the study showthat the role of the controller at the case company shared more similarities with the traditionaldescription of a bean counter than a business partner. While more elements of businesspartnering started to appear as seniority increases, the controllers still felt like they weredoing too much bean counting activities. However, some opportunities for businesspartnering were still found at the company. The study suggests four major challengescontributing to role issues and hindering the controllers from becoming business partners.The four challenges are related to (1) lack of adaptation to new technology, (2) a centralizedorganizational structure, (3) the interplay between financial and business departments, and (4)accountability issues.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 50
Keywords [en]
Bean counter, Business partner, Case study, Controller, Role development, Role theory
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-388457OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-388457DiVA, id: diva2:1333219
Subject / course
Business Studies
Educational program
Master Programme in Accounting, Auditing and Analysis
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-07-01 Created: 2019-06-30 Last updated: 2019-07-01Bibliographically approved

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Lindqvist & Matson 2019(1264 kB)38 downloads
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Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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