There is another reason why good communication skills are indispensable: Controllers have to work with managers who are all very different, their customers are heterogeneous. This is true on a personal level: They need to address a paternalistic manager in a different way than they would a pure analyst. However, controllers are also responsible for keeping an eye on the company as a whole (read our perspective "The big picture matters"). This requires interaction with all areas and all levels within the organization, which not only carry out very different functions but have also developed their own mindsets and subcultures. Communication is based on understanding. This means that controllers have to be able to adapt themselves to a wide range of corporate subcultures and be able to understand – at least at corporate level – an R&D manager equally as well as a marketing manager.
Against this background, it is hardly surprising that controllers rate communications skills so highly: According to a study carried out by our WHU Controller Panel, they rank second in the long list of skills required of a controller behind the ability to question critically and to recognize fault lines (Schäffer/Weber 2015, Trends & Benchmarks, p. 133).