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Becoming a Contract Controller

Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Preface
  5. Contents
  6. Chapter 1: Controller Responsibilities
    1. Introduction
    2. The Controller Position
      1. Avoid the Controller’s Vacuum
    3. The Role of the Controller
      1. Major Roles of a High Road Controller
    4. The Controller’s Major Responsibilities
    5. Conclusion
  7. Chapter 2: CFO Responsibilities
    1. Introduction
    2. Attributes of the CFO
      1. Teaching and Training
      2. Counseling
      3. Guiding
      4. Learning
      5. Sharing
      6. Questioning
      7. Relating
      8. Listening
      9. Intuitiveness
      10. Creativity
    3. How the CFO and Controller’s Roles Differ
      1. Responsibility Comparison
      2. Functional Role Comparison
    4. CFO Tool: Calculating the Economic Value Added
      1. Economic Value Added Defined
    5. Conclusion
  8. Chapter 3: What Is the Contract Controller’s Job About?
    1. Introduction
    2. Main Difference in Expectation of the Roles
    3. The Controller Job Description
    4. The Point of this Exercise
    5. Actual Job Description #1
    6. Actual Job Description #2
    7. Actual Job Description #3
    8. The Chief Financial Officer Job Description
      1. General Definition
      2. Essential Duties and Responsibilities
      3. Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
      4. Education and Experience
    9. The Need for a Contract Controller or CFO
      1. Most Common Reasons a Company Employs a Contract Financial Executive
    10. The Role of the Contract Controller
      1. Positional Power
    11. Valuing and Choosing the Appropriate Role for You
      1. Varying Roles of the Hired Gun
    12. Conclusion
  9. Chapter 4: Attitudes for Success
    1. Introduction
    2. What Mindset Does the Contract Controller Need?
    3. Contractor’s Mindset
      1. 1. You Control Your Own Destiny
      2. 2. You Are Your Boss and Employer
    4. The Attitude of Teflon-Coated Toughness
      1. Reasons for This Attitude
      2. How to Develop a Tough, Non-Stick Attitude
    5. The Attitude of the Fortune Teller
      1. Hindsight
      2. Foresight
      3. Insight
    6. Conclusion
  10. Chapter 5: How Can I Ensure I Will Be Successful?
    1. Introduction
    2. No Guarantee of Success, So Improve Your Odds
    3. Tactics for Creating Success as the Part-Time or Contract Hired Gun
      1. Lessons from the HH Test
    4. Tactic 1: Define Your Role
      1. Hired Gun Tool: A Position Description
    5. Example 5-1: Position Description Example for a General Accounting Assistant
      1. Qualifications
      2. Expected Results
      3. Principal Duties
      4. Special Difficulties of the Position Description
      5. Interpersonal Relationships
      6. Evaluation and Feedback
    6. Example 5-2: Position Description Example for a Part-Time Controller
      1. Qualifications
      2. Expected Results
      3. Impact of Job on the Organization
      4. Authority of Person to Act for the Company
      5. Special Difficulties of the Position
      6. Interpersonal Relations
    7. Tactic 2: Determine What Is Most Important
      1. Find the Client’s Pain!
      2. Why It’s Hard to Find the “Real” Cause of an Issue or Problem
    8. Tactic 3: Enhance Their Metrics of Performance
      1. Hired Gun Tool: Scorecard Metrics
      2. Categories and Examples of Performance Measures
    9. Tactic 4: Help Them Fly in Formation
      1. Hired Gun Tool: Critical Success Factor
      2. Performance Measuring Principle
      3. Drivers of an “Information Business”
    10. Tactic 5: Keep Your Eyes on the Forest
      1. Daily Prioritization and Calibration
    11. Conclusion
  11. Chapter 6: Hired Gun Skills—Part 1
    1. Introduction
    2. Daily Skill Set that Benefits the Client
    3. Special Skills the Hired Gun Uses Daily
    4. Skill #1: Focus
      1. Focus
    5. Skill #2: Systems Building
      1. Systems Approach to Accounting
    6. Base Block—Controller’s People Systems
      1. What Feedback Is and Is Not
    7. 2nd Block—Controller’s Planning System
      1. What Every Employee Wants to Know
    8. 3rd Block—Controller’s Communication System
      1. Hired Gun Credibility Comes from Great Communication
      2. Hired Gun Tool: Communication Web
      3. How to Design a Communication Web
      4. Hired Gun Tool: Communication Web System Checklist
    9. Skill #3: Priority Management
      1. Urgent Does Not Mean Important
      2. Finance’s Workload Killers that Create False Urgency
    10. Skill #4: Leadership
      1. Traits of the Effective Finance Leader
    11. 7½ Priority Management Myths
    12. Conclusion
  12. Chapter 7: Hired Gun Skills—Part 2
    1. Introduction
    2. Dual Service Skill Cluster
    3. More Special Skills the Hired Gun Needs
    4. Skill #5: Future Visioning
      1. Hired Gun Tool: The Gap Analysis
      2. Power in the Gap Tool
    5. Skill #6: Selling Your Solutions
      1. The Mindset of the Risk-Taking Entrepreneur
      2. Process for Selling Your Ideas
      3. When You Speak, Clients Will Listen
    6. Skill #7: Managing Client Expectations
      1. You, the Scapegoat?
      2. Tactics to Manage Expectations
      3. Bad Karma for a Hired Gun
    7. Skill #8: Marketing Professional Services
      1. Marketing Yourself as a Part-Time or Contract Controller
      2. Ways to Market Your Services
    8. Conclusion
  13. Chapter 8: Resources and Concerns
    1. Introduction
    2. What Other Things Do I Need to Know?
      1. Do I Have Independence Issues to be Concerned About?
      2. Can I Issue Financial Statements as Their Controller or CFO? Do I Need to Attach an Attestation Report? Do I Need to Notify Lenders?
      3. In Essence
    3. Other Issues to Consider
      1. Should I Specialize?
      2. Should I Sign Checks?
      3. Can I Sign the Payroll Tax Returns?
      4. How Should I Determine How Much to Charge for My Services?
      5. Could I Take Stock in Lieu of Pay or Compensation to Help a Client Who Lacks Sufficient Cash?
      6. Do I Need Risk, Errors and Omission, or Other Insurance Coverage?
      7. Is There Any Insurance Protection That I Should Have?
      8. What About Understanding and Using Technology?
      9. Can I Take the Home Office Deduction?
      10. Do I Need My Own Contract?
      11. How Does the Issue of Ethics Impact Me or My Role?
      12. What Are My Risks?
      13. Do I Need to Worry about Independent Contractor Status?
      14. As a Consultant, Are There Any Problem Areas to Avoid?
      15. Is It Wise to Supervise Employees When I am Only a Contractor?
    4. Advice from Experienced Hired Guns
      1. Paul Colao Is a Contract CFO
      2. Erin Corsair Is a Professional Temporary
      3. Curt Halin Is a Contract Controller
      4. Bob Anderson Chooses to Niche in Retail
      5. Scott Allred Is Located in Montana and Relies Heavily on the Internet to Provide Services
      6. Gene Siciliano Is CFO for Rent®
      7. Audrey Godwin Defines Herself as a Chief Business Integrator
      8. Sandra Copas Owns a Firm on the Leading Edge
      9. William Looney Left the Corporate Big Company Environment after 20+ Years
    5. Controller’s Resources List
  14. Chapter 9: Take the Next Step
    1. Introduction
    2. Opportunities Abound
      1. Five Accounting Leader Realities
      2. Significant Trends in Accounting Impacting the Controller
    3. Tool: Instilling a Personal Commitment
    4. Tool: Instill Continuous Improvement
      1. Steps of the Plus/Delta
    5. Conclusion
      1. The Challenges of Being a Part-Time or Contract Controller are Many
      2. But There are the Upsides of Opportunities Too
      3. You Can Increase the Odds of Your Success If You
  15. Appendix A
    1. Best Practice Tools
      1. Best Practice: Learning Curve Performance Evaluation
      2. Best Practice: Probing Questions