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The CFO’s function in digital transformation: It isn’t nearly ROI

CFOs should maintain the numbers in thoughts, however there should be extra to the method of digitalization than simply monetary profit.

Picture: iStock/Melpomenem

For old style IT leaders, making an attempt to promote an IT mission to the CFO was a dreaded expertise. Not a lot has modified: Discussions with the CFO at price range time proceed to be difficult. It isn’t that CFOs are against IT, however IT professionals with out monetary backgrounds concern they will not have the ability to adequately reply the CFO’s questions on capital expenditure amortization, return on funding (ROI), and different monetary subjects.

SEE: TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT insurance policies, checklists, toolkits, and analysis for obtain (TechRepublic Premium)

For this reason some CEOs I do know encourage their non-financial executives to coach themselves or to take a course in financials.

On the CFO facet, human assets and profession growth professionals urge CFOs to broaden their visions to the strategic and enterprise worth of know-how investments, and never simply to the {dollars} and cents. “We’re coming into a brand new period the place the necessities of today’s CFO are ultimately more diverse, complicated, and sweeping,” stated Brent Longval, CFO at Advertising and marketing Architects, an promoting company. “We are expected to not only provide counsel to the CEO but to perform a key role in identifying strategic growth opportunities for the business.”

Digital transformation has been a serious know-how space the place CFOs are taking part in an energetic function.

“As a CFO, I think about return on investment, but I also think about how we as an organization can maximize and leverage the data that we are digitalizing,” stated Gina Mastantuono, CFO at ServiceNow, which offers a cloud computing platform that helps firms handle their digital workflows. “I have to understand how digital technology works, but also ask business value questions, such as, ‘If we put in a human resources recruitment and talent management system, will it lower our rate of employee attrition? How will this system drive the bottom line?'”

Mastantuono is adamant about digitalization’s potential to get rid of departmental information silos—however she additionally fights the silo battle by actively collaborating with IT and different enterprise models in each part of digital transformation initiatives—from mission inception to budgeting via execution and supply of outcomes. That is an train that breaks down departmental silo partitions.

SEE: The CFO’s information to information administration (TechRepublic)

“Building cross-functional collaboration is a critical skill, and a major key to this is a collaborative relationship between the CFO and the CIO,” stated Mastantuono. “By aligning finance and IT on the strategic value of digitalization projects, we can maximize their value to the business.”

As a CFO, Mastantuono is conscious that she has the facility to greenlight initiatives and improvements. Central to the method is holding a finger on the heart beat of the enterprise, and repeatedly speaking with digitalization promoters in IT and all through the enterprise.

“The future of finance encompasses the transformation of people, processes and systems,” stated Mastantuono. “As part of this process, the goal of digitalized data should be that the right information gets to the right people at the right time. This enables the business to be proactive for the future and responsive to the present. To do this, the CFO must play a strategic business role in digitalization and other initiatives.”

CFOs like Mastantuono needs to be a breath of recent air to IT and enterprise champions of digitalization, as a result of they encourage and welcome proactive collaboration with CIOs on digitalization and different initiatives from begin to end. Moreover, the extra successfully CIOs and CFOs collaborate all through the lifetimes of initiatives, the simpler will probably be to get initiatives to market faster, and the higher the likelihood of constructive enterprise returns for firms. 

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