CFOs and CIOs understand the importance of getting their relationship right. For CFOs, IT is often one of the largest budget items. For CIOs, 22% of whom report to their CFO, according to Deloitte, earning budget approval is vital to fueling transformation. Yet today the two roles often run on different tracks: one on a straight and narrow path moving at a set pace, with established milestones and the finish line in sight; the other sprinting through twists and turns with the destination still to be discovered.
Many factors complicate the CIO-CFO relationship, such as the migration from projects to product-centric delivery, which has challenged traditional funding models thanks to the need to be funded on a continuous basis. CIOs are also taking center stage as key strategists and orchestrators of unprecedented transformational change, solidifying a direct line to the CEO and in many cases sharing attention with the CFO.
Underlying all this is a simple truth: “The textbook for finance has been the same for 100 years, but the information technology textbook is rewritten every three to five years. All this rapid change is not going to change the way finance is funding your budget, but it probably offers a more creative way of thinking,” says James Anderson, research vice president at Gartner.
There are many opportunities for CIOs and CFOs to work together to propel growth and innovation, but first they must learn to understand each other. Industry analysts offer seven tips to help CIOs get their relationship with their CFO on track.