What is the Basis of Controlling?: A Beginner’s Guide

Controlling is the essential foundation that drives the success and growth of any organization. It serves as the guiding force that ensures goals are achieved, resources are effectively utilized, and performance is optimized. At its core, controlling is the process of monitoring, evaluating, and adjusting activities to ensure they align with the predetermined objectives. It encompasses various elements such as setting benchmarks, measuring progress, identifying deviations, and implementing corrective actions.

In essence, controlling acts as a compass, steering businesses towards their desired outcomes and helping them stay on track amidst the ever-changing market dynamics. From financial control to quality control, from strategic control to operational control, the base of controlling permeates every aspect of business management, providing a solid framework for decision-making, risk mitigation, and continuous improvement.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the significance of controlling, exploring its key components and highlighting the benefits it brings to organizations of all sizes and industries. So, let’s embark on this journey to uncover the power and potential of effective controlling.

💡 Features of a Good Control System:

 Suitable: A good control system should be suitable for the needs and nature of the organisation.

 Simple: A good controlling system should be easy to operate and understand.

 Economical: The cost of setting, implementing, and maintaining a control system should not be more than the benefits gained from it.

 Flexible: A good control system should have the ability to adjust according to the changing business environment and internal conditions. 

Forward Looking: A good control system should move in a forward direction so that the managers can easily determine the deviations before they actually happen in the organisation.

 Objective: The standards of the organisation, its measurement of performance, and corrective actions should be impersonal and objective. 

 Management by exception: A good control system should focus its attention on the significant deviations which are crucial for the organisation, instead of looking for the deviation which does not have much impact on the business. 


The Role of Controlling in Business

In the fast-paced and competitive business landscape, controlling plays a crucial role in ensuring that organizations stay on course towards their objectives. It provides a systematic approach to managing operations and resources, enabling businesses to identify and rectify deviations from their desired path.

Controlling acts as a bridge between planning and execution, helping businesses measure the effectiveness of their strategies and make necessary adjustments to achieve desired outcomes. It provides a feedback loop that allows organizations to assess their performance, identify areas for improvement, and take corrective actions accordingly.

Without effective controlling, businesses would be operating in the dark, unable to gauge the impact of their decisions or understand the factors influencing their success or failure. It is through controlling that organizations gain visibility into their operations, allowing them to make informed decisions and drive continuous improvement.

Key Elements of Controlling

To effectively implement controlling practices, organizations need to understand the key elements that contribute to its success. These elements form the foundation upon which controlling is built and enable businesses to monitor and evaluate their performance.

  1. Setting Benchmarks: Before organizations can measure their progress, they need to establish benchmarks or standards against which their performance will be evaluated. These benchmarks can be financial, operational, or qualitative in nature, depending on the objectives and priorities of the organization.
  2. Measuring Progress: Once benchmarks are set, organizations need to measure their progress against these standards. This involves collecting relevant data, analyzing it, and comparing it with the established benchmarks. Measuring progress provides insights into the effectiveness of strategies and helps identify areas where corrective actions may be required.
  3. Identifying Deviations: Controlling also involves identifying deviations from the established benchmarks. This can be done through regular monitoring and analysis of performance data. Deviations may indicate inefficiencies, bottlenecks, or other issues that need to be addressed to keep the organization on track.
  4. Implementing Corrective Actions: When deviations are identified, organizations need to take corrective actions to realign their activities with the desired objectives. This may involve making changes to processes, allocating resources differently, or revising strategies. The key is to address the root causes of deviations and implement measures to prevent their recurrence.

By focusing on these key elements, organizations can establish a strong foundation for controlling and ensure that their activities are aligned with their goals.

Types of Controlling

Controlling can take various forms depending on the specific area or aspect of business management it addresses. Here are some common types of controlling:

  1. Financial Control: Financial controlling involves monitoring and managing financial resources to ensure that budgets are adhered to, expenses are controlled, and financial goals are met. This includes activities such as budgeting, cost control, financial analysis, and reporting.
  2. Quality Control: Quality controlling focuses on ensuring that products or services meet the desired quality standards. It involves monitoring production processes, conducting inspections, and implementing quality assurance measures to prevent defects and maintain consistency.
  3. Strategic Control: Strategic controlling involves evaluating the effectiveness of the organization’s strategic plans and initiatives. It includes monitoring market trends, competitive analysis, performance metrics, and making adjustments to strategies as needed to stay ahead.
  4. Operational Control: Operational controlling focuses on managing day-to-day operations to ensure efficiency and productivity. It involves monitoring key performance indicators, optimizing processes, and streamlining workflows to maximize output.

Each type of controlling serves a specific purpose and contributes to the overall success of the organization. By implementing a combination of these controlling practices, businesses can effectively manage their resources, mitigate risks, and achieve their objectives.

Importance of Controlling in Financial Management

One area where controlling plays a critical role is in financial management. Effective financial controlling is essential for organizations to achieve financial stability, profitability, and sustainable growth.

Controlling helps businesses ensure that financial resources are allocated optimally, budgets are adhered to, and expenses are controlled. By monitoring financial performance and identifying deviations, organizations can take timely corrective actions to prevent financial crisis and ensure long-term viability.

Financial controlling also enables organizations to make informed decisions regarding investments, pricing strategies, cost control measures, and revenue generation. It provides insights into the financial health of the business, helping stakeholders evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies and make necessary adjustments.

Furthermore, controlling in financial management involves compliance with regulatory requirements, ensuring accurate financial reporting, and maintaining transparency and accountability. This not only helps build trust among stakeholders but also protects the organization from legal and reputational risks.

In summary, financial controlling is vital for organizations to maintain financial stability, make informed decisions, and comply with regulatory requirements.

Controlling vs. Accounting

While controlling and accounting are closely related, they serve different purposes and have distinct roles within an organization.

Accounting focuses on recording, classifying, and reporting financial transactions to provide an accurate representation of the organization’s financial position. It involves activities such as bookkeeping, preparing financial statements, and complying with accounting standards and regulations.

On the other hand, controlling focuses on monitoring, evaluating, and adjusting activities to ensure they align with the predetermined objectives. It involves setting benchmarks, measuring progress, identifying deviations, and implementing corrective actions.

While accounting provides the necessary financial data for controlling, controlling goes beyond accounting by providing insights into the effectiveness of strategies, identifying areas for improvement, and driving continuous improvement.

In essence, accounting provides the numbers, while controlling interprets and analyzes those numbers to guide decision-making and optimize performance.

Steps in the Controlling Process

To implement effective controlling practices, organizations need to follow a systematic process. The following are the key steps involved in the controlling process:

  1. Establishing Objectives: The first step in the controlling process is to establish clear and measurable objectives. These objectives should be aligned with the overall goals of the organization and provide a framework for evaluating performance.
  2. Setting Benchmarks: Once objectives are established, organizations need to set benchmarks or standards against which their performance will be evaluated. These benchmarks should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  3. Measuring Performance: Organizations need to collect relevant data and measure their performance against the established benchmarks. This may involve analyzing financial statements, operational metrics, customer feedback, or any other relevant data.
  4. Analyzing Deviations: After measuring performance, organizations need to analyze deviations from the established benchmarks. This involves identifying the root causes of deviations, understanding the factors contributing to them, and assessing their impact on overall performance.
  5. Implementing Corrective Actions: Once deviations are identified, organizations need to take corrective actions to address the underlying issues. This may involve making changes to processes, reallocating resources, revising strategies, or any other necessary actions to bring performance back on track.
  6. Monitoring and Reviewing: Controlling is an ongoing process, and organizations need to continuously monitor performance, evaluate the effectiveness of corrective actions, and make necessary adjustments. Regular reviews and feedback loops are essential to ensure that controlling practices remain effective and aligned with the evolving needs of the organization.

By following these steps, organizations can establish a robust controlling process that enables them to monitor, evaluate, and optimize their performance.

Tools and Techniques Used in Controlling

To facilitate effective controlling, organizations can leverage a range of tools and techniques. These tools and techniques help collect, analyze, and interpret data, enabling organizations to make informed decisions and take necessary actions. Some commonly used tools and techniques in controlling include:

  1. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): KPIs are metrics that organizations use to measure their performance against specific objectives. They provide a snapshot of performance and help identify areas for improvement.
  2. Dashboard Reporting: Dashboards provide a visual representation of performance data, making it easier for stakeholders to understand and interpret the information. Dashboard reporting enables organizations to monitor key metrics in real-time and make data-driven decisions.
  3. Variance Analysis: Variance analysis involves comparing actual performance against planned or expected performance. It helps identify deviations and understand the reasons behind them. By analyzing variances, organizations can take corrective actions and improve performance.
  4. Budgeting and Forecasting: Budgeting and forecasting tools enable organizations to plan and allocate resources effectively. By comparing actual performance against budgeted targets and forecasts, organizations can identify areas of improvement and make necessary adjustments.
  5. Process Mapping and Flowcharts: Process mapping and flowcharts help organizations visualize and understand their processes. By mapping out the steps involved in a process, organizations can identify inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and areas for improvement.
  6. Data Analytics and Business Intelligence: Data analytics and business intelligence tools enable organizations to analyze large datasets and derive meaningful insights. By uncovering patterns, trends, and correlations in data, organizations can make informed decisions and drive continuous improvement.

These are just a few examples of the tools and techniques available for effective controlling. The choice of tools and techniques depends on the specific needs and goals of the organization.

Challenges in Implementing Effective Controlling

While controlling offers numerous benefits, implementing it effectively can be challenging. Some common challenges organizations may face include:

  1. Resistance to Change: Implementing controlling practices often requires changes to existing processes and workflows. Resistance to change from employees or stakeholders can hinder the successful implementation of controlling.
  2. Lack of Data and Information: Controlling relies on accurate and timely data. If organizations lack the necessary data or have poor data management practices, it can undermine the effectiveness of controlling efforts.
  3. Lack of Resources: Implementing controlling practices may require additional resources, such as technology, tools, or skilled personnel. Limited resources can pose challenges in implementing and sustaining effective controlling practices.
  4. Complexity and Overwhelming Data: Organizations may struggle to handle the volume and complexity of data involved in controlling. Without proper data analysis and interpretation, organizations may be overwhelmed and unable to derive meaningful insights.
  5. Lack of Integration and Collaboration: Controlling requires collaboration and integration across various departments and functions within an organization. Lack of collaboration and communication can hinder the successful implementation of controlling.
  6. Lack of Top Management Support: To implement controlling effectively, organizations need support from top management. Without their involvement and commitment, controlling efforts may not receive the necessary resources and attention.

It is important for organizations to anticipate and address these challenges to ensure the successful implementation of controlling practices.

Benefits of Effective Controlling

Despite the challenges, effective controlling offers numerous benefits to organizations. Some key benefits include:

  1. Improved Performance: Controlling helps organizations monitor and evaluate their performance, enabling them to identify areas for improvement and take corrective actions. By optimizing performance, organizations can achieve their objectives more efficiently and effectively.
  2. Enhanced Decision-making: Controlling provides organizations with insights and data-driven information, enabling them to make informed decisions. By basing decisions on accurate and real-time data, organizations can reduce risks, capitalize on opportunities, and drive growth.
  3. Resource Optimization: Controlling helps organizations optimize the allocation and utilization of resources. By monitoring and analyzing resource usage, organizations can identify inefficiencies, eliminate waste, and ensure resources are utilized effectively.
  4. Risk Mitigation: Controlling enables organizations to identify and mitigate risks. By monitoring performance and deviations, organizations can take timely corrective actions, preventing potential risks from escalating into crises.
  5. Continuous Improvement: Controlling fosters a culture of continuous improvement within organizations. By monitoring performance, analyzing deviations, and implementing corrective actions, organizations can drive innovation, enhance processes, and stay ahead of the competition.
  6. Transparency and Accountability: Controlling promotes transparency and accountability within organizations. By providing visibility into performance and progress, controlling helps build trust among stakeholders and ensures that responsibilities are clearly defined and met.

In summary, effective controlling brings numerous benefits to organizations, enabling them to optimize performance, make informed decisions, mitigate risks, and drive continuous improvement.


Controlling is the foundation upon which successful businesses are built. It provides a systematic approach to monitoring, evaluating, and adjusting activities to ensure they align with predetermined objectives. From financial control to quality control, from strategic control to operational control, controlling permeates every aspect of business management, guiding organizations towards their desired outcomes.

By understanding the key components of controlling, implementing the right tools and techniques, and addressing the challenges that may arise, organizations can unlock the power and potential of effective controlling. The benefits of effective controlling are far-reaching, enabling organizations to improve performance, make informed decisions, optimize resources, mitigate risks, and drive continuous improvement.

In today’s dynamic and competitive business environment, controlling is not just a luxury but a necessity. Organizations that embrace effective controlling practices gain a competitive edge, ensuring their long-term success and growth. So, let us harness the power of controlling and pave the way for a brighter and more prosperous future.