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Increasing collaboration between the Office of the CFO and the CIO adds value

In today's ever-changing business landscape, technology plays an increasingly integral role in operations and processes. The Office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) must work together to leverage this technology to increase value for the organization. A strong collaboration between the two offices is essential for them to do this.

The Role of the CFO

The Office of the CFO touches every part of an organization and is now shifting from being viewed historically as a back-office operation to a more forward-thinking, strategic center. The CFO is a key figure when it comes to making financial decisions, and they need reliable data to make those decisions with confidence. To get this data, the CFO needs to have access to a comprehensive technology stack that offers integrated technology solutions that allow multiple sources of information to feed into a single source of truth. The more integrated the technology stack, as an ecosystem of modular connected building blocks, the better decision-making abilities become available to the CFO. This, in turn, leads to better planning processes, smarter business decisions, and an overall better-run organization.

Additionally, the CFO also requires storytelling skills to effectively present their insights to the rest of the executive team. By collaborating with the CIO, the CFO has access to more advanced data collection, processing, and analytics tools that will help tell a compelling story from their financial data that will facilitate more successful decision-making within their organization.  This removes the scenario where senior leaders meet and work from different spreadsheet data in their presentations.

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The role of the CIO

The CIO works to integrate technology into all facets of an organization’s operations, creating a technology stack that allows for greater efficiencies across departments. The single source of truth this technology stack provides gives the organization reliable data that informs how leaders can plan for the future. When data is stored in outdated legacy systems that don’t talk to each other, the task of providing reliable data is almost impossible. Solutions such as financial planning and analysis (FP&A) tools take data from across the organization, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms and other external sources. The CIO works with both the CFO and other departments to ensure their systems are connected and that all staff are trained to use these systems effectively. Collaboration between the CIO and the rest of the organization allows for better communication, stronger teams, and improved, streamlined planning processes.

How can increased collaboration between the CFO and CIO add value?

The BPM Partners 2022 Pulse Survey found that 79% of CFOs believe the planning process takes too long, 68% feel it is too resource intensive, and 59% state it is difficult to administer. Increased collaboration between the CFO and the CIO provides for improved strategy, planning, and decision-making due to integrated technology solutions that enable access to reliable data. By leveraging technology stack solutions such as integrated ERP and FP&A platforms, there is a single source of truth that allows for better planning processes and more accurate storytelling when reporting operations and performance to senior stakeholders.

According to the Gartner report, ‘How leading CFOs manage their time,’ 1 day per week of CFO time is regularly lost working on the wrong activities. With greater collaboration and the right technology in place, CFOs can spend more time working on value-adding tasks.

By working together, the CIO and CFO are better equipped to make informed decisions using reliable data and integrated technology solutions, increasing efficiency while decreasing operational costs and creating more value for their organizations.

Data-driven analysis

CFOs rely on CIOs to provide a broader tech stack and reliable organizational data to allow data-driven analysis and a shift from reactive to data-led decision-making. CFOs require integrated technology solutions that draw from various sources to help them in their planning process and their ability to communicate information quickly to board members and the C-suite. By working together, both the CFO and CIO can create an effective technology platform that helps inform strategies that increase value for the organization. The improved communication between these departments makes it easier for the CFO and CIO to work together more efficiently, increasing their ability to create more accurate plans and strategies that help create successful outcomes.

The value of shared information

With improved access to quality data, all departments have access to resources needed for planning processes, such as financial modeling, budgeting, forecasting, and goal setting. This also creates an environment where both C-level executives can share knowledge more effectively, use each other’s reports to help inform internal stakeholders, and provide insight into strategic business decisions.

In conclusion, increased collaboration between the Office of the CFO and the CIO has the potential to create tremendous value by creating an environment of unified decision-making, deeper insights, improved resource efficiency, more reliable data, and enhanced communication with internal stakeholders through improving this business partnership.

How Unit4 can support better collaboration in your organization

Unit4’s People Experience suite is designed for organizations like yours. This comprehensive solution gives you the tools you need to become the strategic CFO of tomorrow, no matter how your role evolves or grows.

Visit our Office of the CFO page for more information.

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