CIOIT-Business Alignment

The CFO-CIO Relationship: How to Bridge the Gap

Technology is intrinsically linked to every department, not limited to finance to improve costs and maximize profit. However, the relationship between CFOs and CIOs has not always been a smooth collaboration. In the haste and competitiveness of business nowadays, if CIOs and CFOs remain focused completely on their own concerns and fail to bridge their profession gap, then neither one will ultimately further the business’s goals. For a CFO who seeks to position the company to be more strategic and proactive in making decisions, cooperating with CIOs and communicating to build trust are the key. Bryan Mueller, in writing for, suggests three important practices to help align the different perspectives:

  1. Improve cost transparency
  2. Ensure the planning process meets the needs of both IT and finance
  3. Pick the right people

Don’t Speak Only One Language

It’s good to be proficient in one language, but if you want to communicate with people from other parts of the world, you may need to learn how to speak more languages. In the world of business, IT is the key factor to the success of an organization, and speaking in the language of IT doesn’t mean knowing a lot of IT jargon, but it means understanding what CIOs need and highlighting mutual needs that can fulfill business goals.

A good way to maximize the business value of IT spending is using an IT financial management framework, such as technology business management (TBM), in order to give CIOs the facts needed to collaborate on business objectives. TBM can help manage and communicate to CIOs and CFOs about the costs, quality, and value of technology services to the business.

Being flexible and transparent in communicating the needs and constraints of both sides is also important. Don’t just emphasize your wants and force others to please you, but try to encourage innovation and push each other to do the right thing that eventually benefits the business as a whole. In order to do that, carefully select those in your department who are able to cooperate and familiarize themselves with the work of the IT department. Before wishing others to understand your work and your needs, try to communicate and understand them first. You can even educate IT leaders on finance issues to create a common ground if you gain their trust and empathy.

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