Posted in: Budgets and spending, IT employment, Special Report
It’s no secret that at most organizations, pretty much everybody reports to finance. Even if the corporate structure draws different reporting lines between positions, all lines lead to the bottom line — which controls the organization’s future. And the bottom line is managed by finance professionals. But the increasing importance of technology to most companies means the boss of the CIO has even more authority and responsibility for the way a company operates.
And much more say in how much money the organization spends and makes using technology.
How well suited is the finance chief of your organization for his heavy load?
It appears that most CFO’s believe they’re very well suited to the task. A January poll on a popular LinkedIn group for finance chiefs asked: “Is it a good idea that IT reports to the CFO?” A whopping 67% like the reporting set up.
Apparently, many organizations like it too. It’s the way things are at nearly half of U.S. companies.
But just because a lot of people are doing it, does that make it a good idea? Given the influence and importance of finance at most organizations, and the economic volatility of the past four years, it seems logical.
In practice, it may be more problematic.
That’s because IT isn’t just a cost center at most companies. It’s also a strategic tool to be wielded carefully and expertly by people who understand not just its potential for good. A skilled CFO will also be aware of IT’s propensity for evil cost overruns, unfulfilled promises and mind-boggling complexity that can befuddle even the most tech-savvy money managers.
What’s the answer? Of course, it depends.
The nature of the business, the potential for tech transformations to its goods and services, are critical factors. But an important ingredient in the relationship is the ability of the CFO and the CIO to work together with trust and respect.
Few corporate pairings are as crucial these days as the marriage of finance and technology. Like any good alliance, the participants need to communicate well, respect each others strengths, mitigate each other’s weaknesses and encourage growth and stability.
How’s your relationship with your tech partner? Any thoughts on what makes a good one? What poisons the well?
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