Five Ideas: Finance

The changing role of today's CFO

November 2012

As enterprise technology continues to expand, both as an expense and as a strategic element of business success, more CFOs are charged with direct authority over IT departments. To succeed in this new reality, CFOs need to ensure that their organizations have agile business processes and systems that let them maximize resources and deliver real results. Financial smarts alone are no longer enough to meet these new challenges—today’s CFOs need technology expertise as well. Here, get expert advice about what finance leadership need to focus on to succeed in this evolving role.

“In many organizations, the CFO now has the top responsibility for IT, which wasn't the case before.” —Marie Hollein, president and CEO at Financial Executives International

“CFOs will be increasingly called upon to take a leadership role in assessing the value of 'big data' initiatives, building on their traditional skills in reporting and helping managers analyze data to support decision making.” —John O'Rourke, Vice President EPM Product Marketing at Oracle

“A CFO can ask, ‘How am I going to present all that data? And what is it telling me?' You really need to ask, ‘So what?’ Before you build massive technology to report and store data, you need to know what the business purpose is.” —Dallas Clement, CFO of Atlanta, Georgia–based Auto Trader

“Optimized investment plans enable enterprises to make strategic acquisitions that align project expenses with the organization's business objectives and internal processes. They are valuable to CFOs because they represent a cost-effective way to realize the benefits of technology innovation while matching costs to the solution's projected deployment schedule.” —From White Paper: Self Fund IT Projects Through Optimized Investment Plans (pdf)

“I think the key word these days is data. That's what everyone is trying to figure out—how to get access to the information that allows you to make a good business decision. Finance has a great appreciation for all the information an organization may have at its disposal. Strategically, they're better positioned to know how to act on information that comes out of technology.” —Scott Rottmann, managing director at Morgan Franklin


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