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The special role of controllers in the Corona crisis

18 May 2020 | By: Pressestelle EBS Universität
Die besondere Rolle der Controller in der Corona-Krise

Prof. Dr. Ronald Gleich and Dr. Christoph Munck explain the roles the controllers are playing in the crisis management of the current corona crisis.

Currently, action is called for! Hundreds of thousands of companies are fighting for existence and face very special challenges. On the one hand, “Corona” shows us that our economy with its worldwide networks quickly reaches its limits and that its set-up is subject to constant innovation even after many years of optimisation. On the other hand, the size of the shock cannot simply be absorbed by even the most flexible organization. The slumps in the various industries are too immense and continuous for that.

There is a lack of points of reference and experience for company-specific crisis management. For this reason, Prof. Dr. Ronald Gleich and Dr. Christoph Munck (both EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht) and a small team from the International Controller Association’s Think Tank have set themselves the task of describing the current and upcoming situation and pointing out which phases of crisis management exist and which phases we are facing. They show what characterises the individual phases and what roles the controllers can play in the successful completion of the phases in the company.

The current crisis is uncharted territory for managers and controllers experienced in crises in the expected form. It cannot be understood and managed with the tools known to date alone. For this reason, a Corona Crisis Special Quarterly of the Think Tank attempted to develop models that could help a classic industrial or service company to overcome the crisis. First of all, possible phases of the crisis were distinguished, then these phases were characterized and especially the role of the controller in the respective phase was worked out. These patterns should also help to develop stability and be an anchor and orientation point, because nothing is worse than a panic mode without perspective.

The following four phases of crisis management are distinguished:

  • Phase 1 is intended to ensure the survival of the company after an unexpected exogenous (corona) shock.
  • Phase 2 serves to stabilize the company and the business based on the new, usually radically changed circumstances.
  • Phase 3 is concerned with the realignment of the company’s business models, which is necessary in most cases. This means looking ahead again and trying to identify and exploit new opportunities. Ideally, this phase should be started parallel to phase 2
  • Phase 4 is dedicated to the actual restart of the company after or at the end of the crisis situation. Here, too, there will be a longer start-up phase of several months until the value creation of the company functions as desired. Speed of the players is the absolute trump card in competition.

The complete publication and many other impulses for crisis management and topics of current interest to controllers can be downloaded free of charge from the ICV’s website.

On Tuesday, 19.05. (16-17h) there will also be a free webinar on the topic of the publication.

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