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School of Business | Department of Accounting | Accounting | 2013
Thesis number: 13464
The contemporary controller's profile in a Chinese manufacturing context: The case of W company in China
Author: Liu, Jing
Title: The contemporary controller's profile in a Chinese manufacturing context: The case of W company in China
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Accounting
Academic subject: Accounting
Index terms: laskentatoimi; accounting; teollisuus; industry; valmistus; manufacturing; ammatit; professions; taloushallinto; financial management; Kiina; China
Pages: 86
Key terms: Aalto University; Aalto-yliopisto; accounting; laskentatoimi; business unit controllers; role of controllers; business partner; two responsibilities, improvement

Study objectives The goal of this study is to research the controller's role in a Western manufacture company which operates in China. Prior researchers have focused their vision on the controller's change in Western countries, while the controller's role in China has been rarely known. And previous literature has already discussed some certain troubles faced by controllers. So in order to examine if the findings of the West also apply to Chinese controllers, two following research questions are presented: Q1: what kind of role does the controller play in a Chinese context? Q2: in what aspects could controllers improve in a Chinese context?

Study material and methods The study material consists of academic journals regarding controller's role and literature of management accounting change. The empirical data was conducted in the targeted company and eight interviews were made. To get comprehensive understanding of the controller's role, the scope of the interviews included business unit controllers, CFO, unit-level managers, and financial team member.

Findings The empirical findings left us the impression that the business controllers with Chinese background in the case company are considered as "business partners" by their co-workers and themselves. Working in the business unit, controllers seldom do financial accounting job and more business sense is required for being a qualified controller. They are often involved into management issues if BU heads need advice or if their business units undertake projects. However, they are very clear about their limited influence, as every person in the company has specific responsibilities and those formal rules restrict them to reach out of their territory. In addition to some objective factors such as culture, organizational structure and management accounting change may have effects on the working ways of controllers; individual factors are significant in this case and controllers expect themselves to have more development in the future.
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