Why Technology Consultants and IT Leadership Are Now Critical Partners to The CFO

As technology becomes a key component of practically every company’s financial strategy, CFOs are increasingly turning to internal partners and external consultants to cover gaps in their knowledge, provide meaningful insights and develop models that extrapolate future returns and benefits. Driving financially disciplined growth remains a cornerstone of the CFO’s role. In order to govern technology spend, while ensuring it is aligned to the delivery of business strategy, the CFO must remain an educated partner of the CIO. The CFO must stay abreast of new developments and work with IT leadership and external advisory organizations to ensure that the company is prepared for the future.

How is technology affecting the CFO?

Knowledge and education about emerging technologies, risk of old solutions currently in place, solutions focused on data and securing of sensitive information, emerging and evolving regulations, are all areas that impact the CFO. The role that technology is playing in these areas is increasing daily; IoT, cognitive, automation, transformational evolution of current technology platforms and service delivery models will impact technology investment levels, internal controls frameworks, and regulatory attestation processes. The CFO needs to ensure that through strong collaboration with the CIO as well as trusted external advisors they attain a consensus for how to coordinate financial and technological priorities.

Technology and risk – Technology is a fundamental part of most companies’ risk portfolios. When downtime, errors, or compliance issues can cost a company thousands or even millions of dollars, it becomes critical that the CFO understand these potential problems and how they fit into the enterprise’s overall risk management strategy.

Technology and compliance – There is now a wide range of regulations dictating the proper use of technology, particularly when it involves customer financial information, medical records, or other sensitive data. In order to ensure that the enterprise is compliant with all regulations, the CFO needs advice and insight from those with technological expertise.

Technology and revenue generation – With the rise of eCommerce, digital products, and other technology driven products, IT has become the cornerstone of many enterprise revenue models. Even companies that don’t rely on technology as their primary driver of revenue still usually depend on it for support of operations such as data analytics, marketing, and customer service. Without an understanding of how software and technology contributes to revenue within the organization, a CFO is unprepared to effectively ensure their company’s continued financial health.

Technology and cost reduction – Technology enables the enterprise to more effectively share and analyze information, help customers, and perform daily tasks. All of this ultimately translates to increased efficiency and reduced costs.

How the IT leaders and outside consultants can help

The average CFO doesn’t have a thorough understanding of developing technology, but they must still be able to incorporate IT into their overall strategy in order to make better financial decisions for their company. In order to effectively cover this gap, the CFO must look to internal and external advisors. The CIO and IT leaders are ideal partners to the CFO and can provide much needed guidance on these issues. In some cases, it may also be necessary to seek outside perspective or specialized expertise from third party consultants. By seeking this guidance and uniting with technology leadership, the CFO can help IT deliver business results and ensure that the enterprise has a cohesive and forward looking risk, compliance, and revenue strategy.

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