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Few Tips for CIOs to Deal with CFOs

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, February 2, 2012   |    1 Comments
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It seems CFOs have taken the charge and are increasingly becoming the top technology investment decision makers in many organizations.

According to a survey done by Gartner and the Financial Executives Research Foundation, it was found that 42% of IT organizations report directly to the CFO and the percentage increased to 60% at smaller business. These stats and latest studies clearly reveal that it's the CFOs who have taken the charge of the CIOs. This means that the CIOs instead of reporting to the CEOs are reporting to the CFOs.

So, as per Fred O'Connor's article in cio.com, for those who don't know how to talk business with them, here are a few tips of dealing with them:

1. Talk in dollars and cents: CFOs understand the language of Finance. For them it's all about business, profit or loss, dollars and cents all the time. So how to make them understand the technology, its benefit to the enterprise, how to convince them for the IT budget you require?

The answer is - talk in the same tone they understand i.e. business. Explain them the returns of spending on a certain IT budget.

2. Remember, you're family: It is believed that the CFOs view IT as a cost centre. But we should not forget that both CIOs and CFOs lead groups whose functionality affects the entire organization. So, it's a must requirement that they work as a team.

3. Don't resist the consumerization of IT: CIOs should try and bring out their own technology trend instead of following duplicate technologies. This will not only help in the growth of your enterprise but will also cut the cost of the IT budget add detail.

4. Develop mutual respect: It's important that both CIO and CFO should respect and support each other's decisions. If the CFOs think IT investments costly, then the role played by IT in an organization will lose its importance.

5. Attract customers: Bring in technology to make sales and to attract more and more customers, ultimately proving your point to the CFOs. CIOs are required to prove the business value of IT. How IT matters to an enterprise?

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Reader's comments(1)
1: I am amused that this CIO v/s CFO subject be discussed and recommendations be presented in such a simplistic way. CIO is responsible for creation and development o products and services that must essentially satisfy customers' needs. In the process they assess demand and put a number on the dollars/rupees it will likely bring in. CFO has two clear functions here. First, he will ascertain the underlying assumptions in the projections. Second, in view of company's financial constraints, he will see whether the expense is worth the risk. This obviously works works in tandem. However, when CIOs tend to bring in a lot of ideas that are a bit out there (say, grandiose, if you like), the CEO has to create a filter between him and the CIO. That filter often is the CFO. The need probably is to sensitize CIO if they need that CFO off his back.
Posted by:Pradeep Goorha - 19 May, 2012
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