Why Is Controlling Called a Forward Looking Function?

In the realm of management, there are several key functions that play a vital role in ensuring the smooth operation and success of an organization. One such function is controlling, which often doesn’t get as much attention as planning or leading, but is just as crucial.

So what exactly is controlling? In a nutshell, controlling is the process of comparing actual performance with predetermined standards, and taking corrective action when necessary to ensure objectives are attained. It’s like a feedback mechanism for a business, providing valuable insights into where things might be going wrong and what can be done to rectify it.

The general role of controlling extends across all business processes. Whether you’re dealing with production, sales, marketing, or any other department, controlling plays a part. For instance, in production, controlling might involve checking product quality against set standards, while in sales, it could mean monitoring sales figures to ensure they meet targets. Essentially, controlling is about ensuring that the business stays on the right track towards its objectives.

💡 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. 


To understand controlling more deeply, it’s helpful to consider its main characteristics, such as setting standards, measurement of performance, comparison, and corrective action. These elements not only define what controlling is, but also highlight its unique role in management. But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of controlling lies in its forward-looking nature. As we’ll explore in later sections, controlling isn’t just about responding to the present — it’s also about preparing for the future.