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When looking to embark on an IT project to bring in tools such as cloud-based business software packages, it is more important than ever for the chief
financial officer (CFO) to be on board with the scheme.

According to research carried out by CIO.com, CFOs want to become much more closely involved in decision-making for projects that will bring in third parties to help manage a firm’s operations. At a time of economic uncertainty and when budgets are squeezed, it is vital they can be confident such projects will deliver real savings to a company.

However, it was noted communication between the CFO and the chief information officer (CIO) may be difficult as they may well have different priorities for such schemes.  IT bosses will be keen to highlight any new features and functionality cloud tools can deliver to boost efficiency, while CFOs will want to know about how it affects the bottom line.

Daniel Masur, partner at Washington DC law firm Mayer Brown, explained a key challenge lies in the fact these departments are often not speaking the same language. He said: “They don’t speak in the same terms. They don’t use the same concepts. And, as a result, they just talk past each other.”

Therefore, it is vital IT departments can talk clearly with finance and procurement personnel and articulate why a new IT solution is a good route for their
company. Key among this is having a clear idea of current costs, so they can demonstrate clearly when the financial impact of a new solution will be.

Mr Masur added: “It’s astonishing how often we end up working on a deal where the response to the question, ‘What’s
your current spend,’ is that no one knows.” He added the CIO needs to present a “bulletproof” business case for new IT solutions and if they don’t they will not only fail to get the support they seek, but the CFO will lose confidence in their ability to make decision for the future.

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