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School of Business | Department of Accounting | Accounting | 2015
Thesis number: 13884
Controller's changing role and the decentralised management accounting function
Author: Levo, Harri
Title: Controller's changing role and the decentralised management accounting function
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Accounting
Academic subject: Accounting
Index terms: laskentatoimi; accounting; johdon laskentatoimi; managerial accounting; vastuu; responsibility; tyƶ; work
Pages: 107
Key terms: Bean-counter; business controller; driver of change; permanence of change; metaphoric role; degree of decentralisation; local & functional responsibility

The objective of this master's thesis is threefold. Firstly, the thesis intends to illustrate the controller that can be observed right after the organisational changes in the case company. In addition, the thesis intends to represent the factors that cause the controller to perform in a way that can be observed, and consider the permanence of this change. Secondly, the observations are considered through metaphoric roles presented by Vesa Partanen (2001). The purpose is not to observe all of the roles presented by Partanen, but to concentrate on the few which seem to be the most interesting. Thirdly, the thesis looks into the management accounting function's degree of decentralisation. Moreover, it considers how the decreased degree of decentralisation has affected on the controller's roles.


A qualitative research method was chosen for this thesis's research method because it answers to the questions why, how, and what kind? The qualitative research method is the semi-structured interview method in a case company environment. This sort of research method fits best to real life scenarios in which different events' and factors' effect to each other is complex and cannot be shattered arbitrarily into tiny pieces. The empirical data was gathered by interviewing 1 controller, and 7 managers who represented different managerial levels and regional areas of the case company. In addition, the observations are compared with previous researches that are considered to be valid in this research area.


The observations of this study illustrate that the controller was not fully a bean-counter or a business controller. He had features of both. In addition, there seemed to be two kinds of drivers of change. Others enhancing the bean-counting and others the roles related to business controlling. However, the permanence of the change does not seem to be constant. In addition, the subsidiary's controller was able to perform the metaphoric role of an envoy. Furthermore, the controller did not seem to have much of decision power while performing his metaphoric role as a rally car co-driver. Last but not least, the decreased degree of decentralisation seemed to increase the controller's monitoring roles.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.