Effective Management Controls and Reporting Policies for the Multinational Company
by ROBERT S. GORAB Partner, New York Office
Presented before Corporate Seminars, Inc., New York—November 1970
MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS (MIS) are essentially com-munication systems. One of the major problems confronting most companies today is the maintenance of sound communications, particularly
in the financial area—getting the required information to the proper people at the proper time.
The world is shrinking, and with that development comes an increase
in information need and a decrease in the time within which to respond or react to it. This problem, from an international point of view, is compounded by differences in accounting practices, reporting techniques,
disclosure requirements, and language. At one time or another, the lack of such information can cause costly delays or result in an inability
to respond to changes in economic or competitive conditions.
Most observers agree that there is a need for better management information
and better decision-making data. Therefore, some of the concepts
of MIS can be of benefit to companies, so long as they recognize that there are problems in applying MIS on an international basis.
Obtaining the data a company needs for decision-making at its head offices requires several things, including: greater specification of those needs; greater standardization of reporting practices; the establishment of more current and more easily understood instructions; more uniformity in data recording and reporting; more centralization of control over accounting
and financial policy-making decisions; greater recognition of the ways of overcoming deficiencies; and, lastly, recognition of the limitations
of foreign manpower and of the effect of rising nationalism.
MIS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL COMPANY
The term MIS is admittedly vague and one very much misunderstood.
Moreover, while it is a desirable management tool, there are limitations
to adopting it for international companies. For companies operating
in an international environment, it is not always possible to develop