Operations Efficiency Radar by the ICV and Roland Berger

Ergebnisse 2019

Jeder zweite Finanzvorstand rechnet für 2019 mit einer schwächeren Konjunktur. Besonders skeptisch sind die CFOs in der Autoindustrie sowie im Anlagen- und Maschinenbau. Hier rechnen 93 bzw. 56 Prozent mit einem Abschwung. Grund: Politische Instabilität und steigende Zinsen. 

Im Zentrum der Aktivitäten steht 2019 bei 74 Prozent der befragten Unternehmen das Produktportfolio. Ziel: Kosten senken und Kundenbedürfnisse erfüllen. Weitere wichtige Handlungsfelder: 

  • Produktion
  • Controlling & Finanzen
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Einkauf

Öfter als in den Vorjahren wird auch das Working Capital Management als Fokus-Faktor genannt. Auch das unterstreiche die Erwartung eines Abschwungs. Dass das Controlling für 59 Prozent der Befragten zu den Schwerpunkten 2019 zählt und damit zum zehnten Mal in Folge als zentrales Element genannt wird, ist für Prof. Dr. Heimo Losbichler, ICV-Vorstandsvorsitzender, naheliegend: "Controlling ist ein Schlüsselelement erfolgreicher Unternehmensführung im Auf- wie im Abschwung". 

Schwerpunkte je Branche: 

  • Automobilindustrie: Produktion/Working Capital Managemt
  • Maschinen- und Anlagenbau: Produktportfolio/Produktion/Einkauf

Digitalisierung werde häufig fälschlicherweise mit Automatisierung gleichgesetzt, von der jeder zweite Befragte Unternehmensfunktionen bedroht sieht. 70 Prozent sind der Meinung, dass diese neu positioniert werden müssen und zwar so, dass sie Mehrwert für das Unternehmen schaffen. Chancen dafür werden vor allem für die Funktionen Finanzen & Controlling als hoch erachtet. 


  • Frühwarnsysteme überprüfen
  • Prioritäten hinterfragen
  • auf konjunkturelle Eintrübungen vorbereiten
  • "Digitalisierung bringt für das Controlling mehr Chancen als Risiken. Controllerinnen und Controller sollten sie jetzt ergreifen, damit ihr Bereich auch in der digitalen Zukunft ein unverzichtbarer Value Generator bleiben" (Prof. Dr. Heimo Losbichler, ICV)

The Operation Efficiency Radar by the ICV and Roland Berger analyzes in the previous year the company plans for the coming year. The resulting levers are worked out as important decision-making aids for CFOs and heads of controlling.

Download the study (PDF in German)

Results 2018


  • Continuing positive economic environment with increasing activities of the surveyed companies, regardless of sector and value-added stage.
  • Stable ifo business climate index
  • Economic expectations of participants: mostly high or on the upswing
  • The number of planned levers for 2018 increases almost without exception in almost all industries and value-added stages
  • Focus of the lever 2018: classic efficiency for the areas of production and purchasing
  • Value added of production is the top lever 2018 (2017: product portfolio)
  • "Controlling and finance" placed in focus topics again

The special analysis on Robot Process Automation (RPA) and Artifical Intelligence (AI) shows:

  • Two-thirds of the study participants see RPA and AI as an opportunity for the company
  • Benefits especially in the core value creation area (production, product portfolio, logistics) to reduce costs and increase process efficiencies
  • However, less than half of respondents plan to use RPA / AI over the next three years


  •  Higher importance for efficiency increase in direct areas and classic purchasing levers in the coming year: definitely pushing activities there
  •  Analysis of sector-specific levers in detail: CFO Agenda 2018 is much more individualized in different industries than before 2017
  • Setting priorities: Sharpening and focusing levers for 2018 with the results of the study
  • Analyzing: Where can RPA and AI efficiency levers support and add value, even outside the production area?

Results 2017

Unexpected election results, economic and political crises, as well as the smoldering conflicts in the world, make it almost impossible for medium and long-term business planning. For this reason, companies should always be able to adapt flexibly to uncertainties. Besides there is also the fast-paced digitalization with its abrupt technology development. For companies without a suitable digital strategy, this can mean a fast turnaround. After all, the issue of digitalization has arrived into companies. 69 percent see now technological change as an opportunity, but only a quarter of them believe they are well prepared for it.

Dangerous loss of meaning of controlling and finance

„In the context of the economically and politically uncertain environment, more efficient production and an optimized product portfolio will remain the most important topics on the CFO agenda," says Roland Berger partner Oliver Knapp. "Purchasing is becoming the third most important lever in 2017."

On the other hand, controlling and finance are increasingly losing their importance. Only 33 percent of companies surveyed say that controlling is involved in the digitization projects of other companies. "This is worrying, because in case to develop innovative business models in the course of the digitization, companies need controlling more than ever - in the sense of business conscience in the company," explains Carmen Zillmer, an ICV Board Member. "Controllers in their role as "business partners of management" have the important task and opportunity to act as a qualifier."Compared to the past few years, the surveyed companies rate the topics for 2017 very differently depending on the sector. "This is a very positive development," notes Sebastian Ostermayer from Roland Berger. "Technological change affects the respective industries in different areas. In order to successfully master digitalization, different approaches are therefore required depending on the sector."

As the survey shows, companies are challenging digital change. Thus, 59 percent of the surveyed companies expect radical changes through digitization. At the same time there is great uncertainty as to how the development will change the existing business model. "Digital change cannot be tackled by general actionism," says Knapp. "Focusing on one's own industry and its challenges is the right path: the individual need for action can only be determined on the basis of analyzing the digital trends in the company's own business and a corresponding digitization strategy."

WHU CONTROLLER PANEL in cooperation with the ICV

The WHU Controller Panel was founded in cooperation with the ICV in 2007 and since then has offered scientifically sound analyzes and practice-relevant benchmarks on all important facets of controlling. It is led under the joint directorship by Prof. Dr. Marko Reimer, Prof. Dr. Utz Schäffer und Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Jürgen Weber. Over 1,000 members regularly take part in the studies.

The regular survey on relevant longitudinal topics enables statements about development of controlling in the German-speaking area (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). Studies highlight both current trends and core controlling issues.

Are you interested in the results and analyzes of the WHU Controller Panel? Then register at

Membership is free and can be canceled at any time. You are invited to participate in a study three times a year; answering the online questionnaire usually takes about 10 minutes. The surveys are anonymous and all information is kept strictly confidential.


  • Prof. Dr. Marco Reimer
  • Prof. Dr. Utz Schäffer
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Jürgen Weber

E-mail: whu-controllerpanel{bei}

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management
Institute of Management Accounting and Control (IMC)

Studienthemen WHU Controller Panel 2020

  • Controller im Fokus: Gehalt, Leistungsbeurteilung und Rollen
  • 1. Blitzstudie zur Corona-Krise: Wie schätzen Finanzvorstände und Controller aktuell die Lage in ihren Unternehmen ein? (März 2020)
  • 2. Blitzstudie zur Corona-Krise: Wie schätzen Finanzvorstände und Controller aktuell die Lage in ihren Unternehmen ein? (Mai 2020)
  • 4. WHU-Zukunftsstudie: Die Zukunftsthemen des Controllings
  • Risiko-Management und Resilienz

GREEN CONTROLLING Study of the ICV expert work group


The study by the ICV expert work group group Green Controlling takes a close look at the status and the challenges of integrating ecological and social aspects into controlling, from the point of view of controlling practice, especially taking into consideration that the ICV Think Tank has already dealt with the topic "Green Controlling" since 2010. In this respect, the study also sheds light on the development and status quo in the period from 2010 to 2015.



Benchmarking of the ICV and SAP

Please also note: The ICV offers you a permanent survey in collaboration with SAP, followed by individual evaluation and suggestions for optimization of your financial and controlling processes!

You can find all about Benchmarking Study here

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Hier finden Sie u.a. die ICV-Schriftenreihe sowie ICV White Paper.