Group controlling

Group controlling - According to stock corporation law, a group is to be used when several companies are under the same management (Section 18 AktG) and accordingly the group management coordinates the business policies of the group companies with one another. The legislature has developed a comparatively complicated system of characteristics for determining the corporation under stock corporation law.
With regard to the design of the controlling function in the group, however, it proves to be inexpedient to delimit the group on the basis of the legal-formal characteristics and thus to define it very narrowly; Rather, it seems more useful to refer to a group of companies as a merger, using economic and material criteria, in which the essential business decisions are made by a higher-level group management, whereby the freedom of decision of the group companies is at least partially restricted.

The group controlling assumes responsibility within the group for solving the coordination and control problems that arise in the planning and implementation of group decisions. Since the influence of the group management is mainly limited to the fundamental decisions, the coordination of all activities of the group companies is not yet completely secured. This can be guaranteed by structuring the group controlling accordingly.

Da unter den gewählten Konzernbegriff verschiedene Typen verbundener Unternehmen fallen, muss auch die Analyse der typischen Steuerungsprobleme des Konzerns differenziert im Hinblick auf diversifizierte Unternehmen, auf Holdinggesellschaften, auf internationale Konzerne sowie auf international joint ventures als Strukturvarianten von Konzernen erfolgen.

In all corporate forms, the controller is of particular importance as an interface specialist between the supply of information (accounting) and the use of information (planning and control) in the corporate group. The tasks of the controlling units (group controlling organization) in the group headquarters differ from those at the division, affiliated company or subsidiary level. The main objective of controlling at the group headquarters is to help ensure that the group management is able to coordinate.
The focus is therefore on the coordination of planning at group level, in particular the connection between operational and strategic planning “definition of specifications”, the anticipatory information supply (group information system) of the group top management as well as the coordination of the controlling systems in the individual group units. This results in a double direction of action for controlling in the group companies. On the one hand, it has to support the management of the subunits; on the other hand, it has to supply the corporate headquarters with information from these units.

Die Koordinationsfunktion des Controlling zerfällt dabei in eine methodische und strukturelle sowie in eine personale Steuerungsaufgabe. Strukturell-technokratische Steuerung stützt sich auf die aufbauorganisatorische Struktur- und Autoritätsbildung, die Formalisierung und Standardisierung, insb. den Aufbau eines formalen Berichts-, Planungs- und Kontrollsystems. Zu den personalen Steuerungsformen zählen die informelle Zusammenarbeit von Managern, z.B. in Arbeitsgruppen die Nutzung informeller Informations- und Kommunikationskanäle oder die implizite Verhaltenssteuerung über die Corporate culture.

As part of the structural-technocratic control, on the one hand the controlling oversees the integration of the group plans and ensures compliance with the sub-plans, on the other hand it drives the formalization and standardization of the activities and (reporting) systems in the group. In the context of the personal control function, the controlling fulfills an auxiliary function by designing the communicative infrastructure of the group, especially the means (instruments) of communication, as well as controlling the information supply in the group and thus promoting communication relationships. The group controlling provides an important basis for the formation of a cultural homogeneity of the subunits of the group.

The degree of globalization of group activities is another central issue, which also affects the structure of group controlling between the extremes of decentralization and centralization. The decentralization strategy leads to a low level of standardization of the controlling methods and instruments in the group, since the controlling tasks are mainly aligned to the goals and tasks of the individual group areas. On the other hand, the centralization strategy aims to use standardization advantages through the establishment of a group-wide uniform planning and control or information system as well as a similar handling of controlling tasks. Decentralization is reflected in a low, centralization in a high degree of centralization of the controlling organization.

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