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Becoming a Contract Controller: Tips for a Thriving Career

Becoming a Contract Controller: Tips for a Thriving Career

Ron Rael

ISBN: 978-0-870-51972-7

May 2017

208 pages

In Stock



Opportunities for part-time or contract controllers and financial executives have grown exponentially in recent years. If you’ve ever considered following this fast-growing trend and striking out on your own, then this is the book for you. Author Ron Rael, who has years of experience as a contract controller himself, shows you how to navigate the unique questions, problems, and opportunities of this consulting niche.

After reading this book you will be able to

  • Apply the special skills required of the part-time and contract controller.
  • Understand the role the contract controller plays.
  • Weigh the positives and negatives of being a part-time and contract controller.
  • Know how to be a very effective contract controller.
  • Discuss issues related to the elusive contract executive position.
  • Develop a Position Description for a contract financial executive.
  • Generate ideas on how to market yourself as a part-time or contract controller.
  • Design a tailored action plan for your specific needs.
  • List your own ideas and contributions.
  • Put this information to good use in your own career.
Chapter 1: Controller Responsibilities Introduction  1-1

The Controller Position  1-1

Avoid the Controller’s Vacuum  1-2

The Role of the Controller  1-3

Major Roles of a High Road Controller  1-3

The Controller’s Major Responsibilities  1-5

Conclusion  1-6

Chapter 2: CFO Responsibilities Introduction  2-1

Attributes of the CFO  2-1

Teaching and Training  2-2

Counseling  2-2

Guiding  2-2

Learning  2-2

Sharing  2-3

Questioning  2-3

Relating  2-3

Listening  2-3

Intuitiveness  2-3

Creativity 2-4

How the CFO and Controller’s Roles Differ  2-4

Responsibility Comparison  2-4

Functional Role Comparison  2-5

CFO Tool: Calculating the Economic Value Added  2-7

Economic Value Added Defined  2-7

Conclusion  2-11

Chapter 3: What Is the Contract Controller’s Job About? Introduction  3-1

Main Difference in Expectation of the Roles  3-1

The Controller Job Description  3-2

The Point of this Exercise  3-3

Actual Job Description #1  3-3

Actual Job Description #2  3-4

Actual Job Description #3  3-5

The Chief Financial Officer Job Description  3-7

General Definition  3-7

Essential Duties and Responsibilities  3-7

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities  3-9

Education and Experience 3-10

The Need for a Contract Controller or CFO  3-10

Most Common Reasons a Company Employs a Contract Financial Executive  3-11

The Role of the Contract Controller  3-11

Positional Power  3-11

Valuing and Choosing the Appropriate Role for You  3-12

Varying Roles of the Hired Gun  3-12

Conclusion  3-13

Chapter 4: Attitudes for Success Introduction  4-1

What Mindset Does the Contract Controller Need?  4-2

Contractor’s Mindset  4-2

1 You Control Your Own Destiny  4-4

2 You Are Your Boss and Employer  4-5

The Attitude of Teflon-Coated Toughness  4-5

Reasons for This Attitude  4-6

How to Develop a Tough, Non-Stick Attitude  4-6

The Attitude of the Fortune Teller  4-9

Hindsight  4-9

Foresight  4-10

Insight  4-11

Conclusion  4-11

Chapter 5: How Can I Ensure I Will Be Successful? Introduction  5-1

No Guarantee of Success, So Improve Your Odds  5-1

Tactics for Creating Success as the Part-Time or Contract Hired Gun  5-1

Lessons from the HH Test  5-3

Tactic 1: Define Your Role  5-3

Hired Gun Tool: A Position Description  5-3

Example 5-1: Position Description Example for a General Accounting Assistant  5-7

Qualifications  5-7

Expected Results  5-7

Principal Duties  5-8

Special Difficulties of the Position Description 5-8

Interpersonal Relationships  5-8

Evaluation and Feedback  5-8

Example 5-2: Position Description Example for a Part-Time Controller  5-9

Qualifications  5-9

Expected Results  5-9

Impact of Job on the Organization  5-9

Authority of Person to Act for the Company  5-10

Special Difficulties of the Position  5-10

Interpersonal Relations  5-10

Tactic 2: Determine What Is Most Important  5-14

Find the Client’s Pain!  5-14

Why It’s Hard to Find the “Real” Cause of an Issue or Problem  5-17

Tactic 3: Enhance Their Metrics of Performance  5-18

Hired Gun Tool: Scorecard Metrics  5-19

Categories and Examples of Performance Measures  5-22

Tactic 4: Help Them Fly in Formation  5-23

Hired Gun Tool: Critical Success Factor  5-23

Performance Measuring Principle  5-25

Drivers of an “Information Business”  5-25

Tactic 5: Keep Your Eyes on the Forest  5-27

Daily Prioritization and Calibration  5-27

Conclusion  5-31

Chapter 6: Hired Gun Skills—Part 1

Introduction  6-1

Daily Skill Set that Benefits the Client  6-1

Special Skills the Hired Gun Uses Daily  6-1

Skill #1: Focus  6-3

Focus  6-3

Skill #2: Systems Building  6-5

Systems Approach to Accounting  6-5

Base Block—Controller’s People Systems  6-6

What Feedback Is and Is Not  6-6

2nd Block—Controller’s Planning System  6-9

What Every Employee Wants to Know  6-9

3rd Block—Controller’s Communication System  6-10

Hired Gun Credibility Comes from Great Communication  6-10

Hired Gun Tool: Communication Web 6-10

How to Design a Communication Web  6-12

Hired Gun Tool: Communication Web System Checklist  6-15

Skill #3: Priority Management  6-16

Urgent Does Not Mean Important  6-17

Finance’s Workload Killers that Create False Urgency  6-18

Skill #4: Leadership  6-19

Traits of the Effective Finance Leader  6-19

7½ Priority Management Myths  6-31

Conclusion  6-33

Chapter 7: Hired Gun Skills—Part 2

Introduction  7-1

Dual Service Skill Cluster  7-1

More Special Skills the Hired Gun Needs  7-1

Skill #5: Future Visioning  7-2

Hired Gun Tool: The Gap Analysis  7-2

Power in the Gap Tool  7-4

Skill #6: Selling Your Solutions  7-4

The Mindset of the Risk-Taking Entrepreneur  7-5

Process for Selling Your Ideas  7-6

When You Speak, Clients Will Listen  7-9

Skill #7: Managing Client Expectations  7-9

You, the Scapegoat? 7-10

Tactics to Manage Expectations  7-10

Bad Karma for a Hired Gun  7-11

Skill #8: Marketing Professional Services  7-11

Marketing Yourself as a Part-Time or Contract Controller  7-12

Ways to Market Your Services  7-13

Conclusion  7-30

Chapter 8: Resources and Concerns Introduction  8-1

What Other Things Do I Need to Know?  8-1

Do I Have Independence Issues to be Concerned About?  8-1

Can I Issue Financial Statements as Their Controller or CFO? Do I Need to Attach an Attestation Report? Do I Need to Notify Lenders?  8-4

In Essence  8-5

Other Issues to Consider  8-6

Should I Specialize?  8-6

Should I Sign Checks?  8-6

Can I Sign the Payroll Tax Returns? 8-6

How Should I Determine How Much to Charge for My Services?  8-6

Could I Take Stock in Lieu of Pay or Compensation to Help a Client Who Lacks Sufficient Cash?  8-9

Do I Need Risk, Errors and Omission, or Other Insurance Coverage?  8-9

Is There Any Insurance Protection That I Should Have?  8-9

What About Understanding and Using Technology?  8-10

Can I Take the Home Office Deduction?  8-10

Do I Need My Own Contract?  8-11

How Does the Issue of Ethics Impact Me or My Role?  8-11

What Are My Risks?  8-12

Do I Need to Worry about Independent Contractor Status?  8-12

As a Consultant, Are There Any Problem Areas to Avoid?  8-13

Is It Wise to Supervise Employees When I am Only a Contractor?  8-14

Advice from Experienced Hired Guns  8-16

Paul Colao Is a Contract CFO  8-16

Erin Corsair Is a Professional Temporary  8-16

Curt Halin Is a Contract Controller  8-16

Bob Anderson Chooses to Niche in Retail  8-17

Scott Allred Is Located in Montana and Relies Heavily on the Internet to Provide Services 8-17

Gene Siciliano Is CFO for Rent®  8-18

Audrey Godwin Defines Herself as a Chief Business Integrator  8-19

Sandra Copas Owns a Firm on the Leading Edge  8-20

William Looney Left the Corporate Big Company Environment after 20+ Years  8-21

Controller’s Resources List  8-22

Chapter 9: Take the Next Step Introduction  9-1

Opportunities Abound  9-1

Five Accounting Leader Realities  9-2

Significant Trends in Accounting Impacting the Controller  9-3

Tool: Instilling a Personal Commitment  9-7

Tool: Instill Continuous Improvement 9-8

Steps of the Plus/Delta  9-8

Conclusion  9-9

The Challenges of Being a Part-Time or Contract Controller are Many  9-9

But There are the Upsides of Opportunities Too  9-9

You Can Increase the Odds of Your Success If You  9-9

Appendix A

Best Practice Tools  A-1

Best Practice: Learning Curve Performance Evaluation  A-1

Best Practice: Probing Questions  A-4