The CFO and CIO should work closely together, given that IT is critical to departments delivering results for the business. CFOs need to understand what they are being asked to finance, and CIOs have an important role to play here.
CFOs will have to be accountable to investors on a quarterly basis, and given that IT will account for a large proportion of expenditure, it is important that the CFO understands what the IT system can do and how investment will help deliver benefits for the business.
What advice would you give to CIOs wanting to ensure that their projects and budget submissions get a good hearing by their fellow executives?
It is all about how the project or new system will add value to the business.
If the CIO can demonstrate how a project relates back to the business strategy and can highlight how an activity will improve investor relations or influence other stakeholders, it should improve the chances of a request for finance being successful. A clear understanding of the cost implications and the expected benefits is key. The ability to benchmark the success of a project will also be beneficial to any bid for budget.
How do you believe the relationship between CFOs, CIOs and CEOs has changed in the past few years and why?
Over the past 10 years, CEOs have become more reliant on the CFO, resulting in the CFO being widely seen as the second most important executive in companies. CFOs have increasingly been called on to make operational and strategic decisions over recent years.
Now, following the recent economic crisis which made businesses realise they needed every possible competitive advantage, the CIO has emerged as the third member of the executive management team.
By being able to deploy a companys systems and technology to create a more fully developed understanding of customers, competitors, suppliers, and emerging trends, the CIO can provide information and means for the CEO and CFO to make well-informed decisions about the company's strategy, and play a significant role in making those decisions.
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