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Financial controller, a world with many professional horizons

Find out all about financial controlling and the skills you need to perform! Vincent, Business Manager at KLB, talks about his job and his career path.


"My mission is to bring transparency to the activity within the organization".

That's a nice definition of the job, given to me by a management control manager during an interview when I was just starting out. In my opinion, it's a real upward platform: it enables managers to take stock of the existing situation, to better project themselves into the future and thus support them in their strategic choices. The platform is based on three interdependent pillars: reporting, budgeting and analysis.

   

In business controlling, reporting provides a summary view of performance by major operating aggregates (product range, business unit, expense category, market, etc.), at a given moment in time. The aim is to give meaning to results. This fundamental exercise highlights the year's performance in relation to past and expected performance.

Budgets, estimated plans and other forecasting cycles form the second pillar of management control. Nowadays, these tools are essential to ensure consistency between the company's resources, methods and workforce. This exercise depends directly on reporting and the third pillar: analysis.


Defined as "intellectual operations consisting in breaking down a whole into its constituent parts and establishing the relationships between them", analyses are both an end and a means, and are intrinsically linked to reporting and budgets.

It's impossible to make figures talk, or to forecast them, without analyzing them. A company's management is only as strong as its ability to analyze its information.

This "rising platform" rests on a foundation that holds the pillars together: data, i.e. information.

Today, we work on multiple IT platforms, with millions of lines of information at our fingertips, all the result of data input at a given moment.


Accounting, management information, operational data... the world of business controlling begins and ends with information. Knowing how to handle them with precision, dexterity and tact within the powerful tools that many companies have made their specialty is one of the key skills! Furthermore, while good data and information management is an asset, communication is a strength. Generally speaking, a financial controller invests half his or her energy in transmitting, explaining and defending the messages and information of his or her work.


To be a financial controller in the consulting field


"As a management controller, you're going to help your company achieve its objectives".

It was this phrase, heard at the Salon de l'Etudiant, that led me to my first internship in the finance department of a subsidiary of a major IT group.


My tutor on that same placement highlighted one aspect of management control: " Our added value is to translate the figures. " Without realizing it, she had launched me into the profession...

Gradually, I progressed from junior to senior in operational, commercial and then central¹ management control (overheads, IT...), while discovering different sectors (publishing, agri-food, payment services and media). I spent around ten years exploring various business models, mechanisms and organizations, with the aim of making figures and companies talk in their management.


During my previous experiences in companies in different sectors, I had several opportunities to work with consultants. I found they had a common trait with which I also identified: curiosity. I saw consulting as an excellent opportunity to continue discovering and learning.


My encounter with KLB


My career in consulting began with an IT banking transformation specialist. It was during one of the design workshops I was leading that I met KLB, who was assigned by the client to manage the Purchasing part of the project. I was immediately attracted by the group's positioning: an operational consulting firm historically specialized in Purchasing, but also active in other support functions, including finance. The company supports a wide variety of customers on a wide range of assignments such as reinforcement, transition, implementation...

My first assignment with KLB was in banking.


Functional mobility opportunities at KLB


As I often say to new arrivals, " here, projects don't sit in boxes or on shelves for long ". Resolutely entrepreneurial, quick to act and pragmatic in execution, we know how to draw on our strengths to move forward.


First mobility

After two assignments with the customer, I progressed from senior consultant to Team Leader in the Finance practice. KLB's general management invited me to join the teams internally during a transformation within the group. At the time, there was a need for an administrative and financial manager to supervise teams, manage change and provide business support. So I came out of consulting and took on this role, which was very different from our customer assignments, at the heart of the company. 


Back on the field

After a successful transformation and some disruptive events during the COVID-19 crisis, I decided to go back on assignment. We had promoted the right people internally, and my teams were strong enough to allow me to slip away and get back in touch with customers and the richness of field issues. I then returned to the life of a consultant in a new context: imposed telecommuting and on-site masks.

A giant retailer, a major hotel group, an insurance broker and then a bank... I moved from one assignment to the next, with ever-increasing levels of complexity. We acquire new customers and I know my job well. However, my experience lacks a dimension that has always intrigued me: the commercial side.


A new challenge at KLB?

Now I'm on the other side of the mirror as Business Manager! At KLB, it's a matter of course to study all the mobility options an employee can explore internally. My daily routine is punctuated by meetings with candidates and prospects, as well as by following up my consultants on their assignments. I help my customers with their problems, with the eyes of a former consultant, but also as a neophyte to the buyer's profession, which I've really got to know thanks to this new role.

In the end, being a Business Manager means finding interesting assignments with friendly customers for our competent and motivated consultants.


To be continued ...



Vincent LARROZE-FRANCEZAT, Business Manager at KLB.


¹ A central financial controller deals directly with management, while the others deal with the operational departments.



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