Helping BP’s controllers stay connected − yet independent

The issue

BP’s new Management Framework established Financial Control & Accounting (FC&A) as a separate function within the global business. This change implied a whole new set of accountabilities, relationships and behaviours and BP quickly realised the need to develop the function’s capabilities. After a competitive tender process, BP asked PwC UK, with whom it already had a long-standing relationship, to work with FC&A’s newly-established learning faculty to develop a flagship Control Excellence programme.

Our approach

“It’s been a partnership with PwC throughout. We took great care to put in trainers who have strong credibility, really know the business, and have a wide diversity of experience,” says BP FC&A faculty programme manager Mark Miles. The flagship Control Excellence programme is now being delivered globally to controllers in all BP businesses. PwC UK Team leader, Tim Orme, says that the key to making the programme effective lies in bringing to bear a mix of controls experience, training and facilitation skills, and BP-specific knowledge to bear. “There’s a lot of focus on behaviours and managing relationships, “he says. “But, it’s also totally grounded in the jobs people do.”

The outcome

The result has been excellent participant feedback, growing participation, and clear evidence of people taking action as a result of the programme. “This course has been great,” says Susan Elliott, a joint venture reporting manager based in Angola. “My boss took it last year and encouraged me to come -- and his boss will be taking it next year.” Martin Ludlam, an assistant business unit controller with BP in Trinidad and Tobago, agrees. “From the business point of view, I now understand my accountabilities a lot better. It’s great to discuss things and pull them together.” PwC firms in the UK, US and Singapore are now helping the faculty deliver a second programme to further embed control awareness.