Learning the Executive Language: Improving CFO-CIO Communication

CFOs, how connected do you feel to your organization’s CIO?

If you’re like the majority, we’re guessing not very. According to CIO.com, the state of the CIO 2016 by IDG found only 31% of CIOs collaborate regularly with the CFO in smaller organizations, while only 19% do at larger enterprises.

Often, it can seem like CFOs and CIOs come from different worlds and a strong partnership isn’t the norm. However, improving communication with your CIO is important for continued business growth and initiatives. With technology playing a larger role in business than ever, the CIO role isn’t going anywhere and will likely be a financial driver for your business. In turn, forming a good business relationship will be mutually beneficial.

Another good reason to encourage workplace communication with your CIO is the trickle-down effect. Especially if you’re working to improve team collaboration and break down silos, the example needs to be set from the top. If you and your company’s CIO aren’t on the same page, how can you expect your respective teams to communicate effectively?

If a stronger CFO-CIO relationship is one of your goals, here’s how you can go about improving communication:

  1. Understand the CIO’s Priorities

According to Bold CFO, for most CIOs, the pain points driving their role will be security, stack, and maintenance. When you’re proposing a new financial operations strategy or looking at new financial software, consider what your CIO might be thinking about. Is the security enterprise-grade? How will a particular financial solution mesh with your company’s existing technology? And in terms of maintenance, how much IT resources will it take to implement and uphold?

  1. Use Custom Solutions Wisely

Custom IT projects can eat up time, resources, and require further maintenance down the line from your organization’s tech team, so choose them wisely. When looking at a potential solution, ask what problem you are trying to solve and whether the “off-the-shelf” solution could be enough. If a custom project really seems like the best fit, consult with your CIO first to see if there could be another solution or a way to make the custom solution easier on the IT team.

  1. Talk with Your CIO About Their Assessment Process

Most CIOs will have evaluation questions they use to assess whether a potential product is really as great as is promised and aligns with the company’s tech strategy. Understanding what criteria your CIO uses to make this decision can help you pick a financial solution upfront that is less likely to be turned down by the CIO and, in turn, your CIO will thank you for cutting down on some of the legwork for them. This can lead to faster approvals and less turnaround time.

Establishing better CFO-CIO workplace communication won’t just benefit you when you want a financial system solution approved, it will also benefit your CIO. Taking the time to talk about IT investments and understanding how new technology could support and even grow the business’s revenue will make your financial planning that much sounder.

As technology continues to evolve, the CIO’s role is only going to become that much more important, so it’s a good idea to start building a relationship now. Your business will only reap the benefits.

SHEA Global can provide financial system solutions that both the CFO and CIO will love. Learn more about our services at SHEAGlobal.com or call 1-866-239-1113.