Eight months ago, I graduated from university thinking I knew everything about business models, financial statements, currency hedging and cash flow. Halfway through Saab’s graduate programme, I realise I couldn’t have been more wrong…
Over the past six months, I have been travelling all around the southern parts of Sweden, visiting our different business areas and spending a lot of time with all kinds of controllers. I have met controllers working on one large single contract, controllers working with 50 different contracts almost at the same time, controllers working solely with calculating currency risks and opportunities, controllers in charge of function economy, invoicing, payments and many more. All of them have one common goal – to make our business performance as good as possible. And still, not a single one of them has days looking exactly the same as someone else’s. I even dare to say they don’t have days on their own looking the same as the previous.
I’m starting to understand that being a controller at Saab means working in an ever-changing environment. What was true last week may be completely wrong the next. One day you work on a teeny-tiny project and the other day you review a prospect of hundreds of millions. You are close to the business, listening to what engineers and project leaders says and then turn that information into financial numbers. You always need to be two steps ahead in your analysis and forecast, and this means taking more into calculation than just money in itself. It’s about planning resources, future business opportunities, evaluating risks, calculate on possible benefits of investments, being aware of what’s happening in the surrounding world and much more. After all, costs and profits are just a result of everything that has already happened. If you really want to make a difference, it’s all about creating a good foundation for impacting those numbers in the right direction, before they turn into reality. Man, isn’t that exciting?!
My longing for testing my wings as a controller at Saab grows each day for every new colleague I meet and I constantly learn new things about the complex business we work in. If I feel this inspired already, I can only imagine how I will feel when my graduate year ends.
ABBA might have guessed it but I certainly know it. Money is fun – especially in a controller’s world.
Your future controller,