Are Controllers The Data Scientists of Finance?

Introduction to are the controllers the data scientists of finance on a blue background with an illustration.

A senior manager who is in charge of a company’s daily financial operations is known as a financial controller. Financial controllers manage the accounting department and are in charge of the business’s accounts and records. Depending on the size of the company, the financial controller’s function changes. I find that Data Scientists and Controllers share a lot of similarities in their work. As a result, we could even say that the controllers are the Data Scientists of Finance.

What Are The Similarities between Controllers and Data Scientists?

I found valuable insights in the article “What The Data Scientists Really Do” from the Harvard Business Review, which confirms the similarities.

Here are the most interesting parts of this article:

  • Sure, machine learning and deep learning are powerful techniques with important applications. But, as with all buzz terms, a healthy skepticism is in order. Nearly all of my guests understand that working data scientists make their daily bread and butter through data collection and data cleaning. And by building dashboards and reports, data visualization, statistical inference, communicating results to key stakeholders, and convincing decision-makers of their results.
  • The skills data scientists need are evolving (and experience with deep learning isn’t the most important one). „Which skill is more important for a data scientist: the ability to use the most sophisticated deep learning models or the ability to make good PowerPoint slides?.” He made a case for the latter since communicating results remains a critical part of data work.
  • One result of this rapid change is that the vast majority of my guests tell us that the key skills for data scientists are not the ability to build and use deep-learning infrastructures. Instead, the ability to learn on the fly and to communicate well in order to answer business questions and explain complex results to non-technical stakeholders. Then, aspiring data scientists should focus less on techniques than on questions. New techniques come and go, but critical thinking and quantitative, domain-specific skills will remain in demand.

Conclusion – The Data Science Revolution Will Bring Changes

The data science revolution is only getting started throughout industry and society at large. Therefore, the controllers of the future will be the data scientists of Finance. Also, they will be considerably more analytical and play a function as a business partner. Additionally, the quantity of analytical inquiries is increasing far more quickly than data scientists.

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