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In a survey from Robert Half Management Resources and Robert Half Technology, we learn that today, 51% of CFOs collaborate more with CIO in the organization, compared with three years ago. The study was based on interviews made by telephone. More than 2,200 CFOs were asked, coming from U.S businesses.

The main question that CFOs had to answer was: Compared to three years ago, how frequently are you collaborating with your company’s chief information officer or top IT manager?”

There is a significant improve of collaboration between CFOs and CIOs, 2 job titles that have been distant for so long. These percentages reflect the fact that the relationship between the two is more important than before but also reflect CFOs & CIOs awareness concerning their collaboration’s potential.

This closer collaboration is essentially coming from Technology and the way it’s reshaped finance function. “Modern finance is enabled by technology, and without it an organization can quickly fall behind” said Tim Hird, executive director for Robert Half Management Resources. It is clear that Technology and Digital are 2 waves that imply a new way of working and not only for the IT department. The Financial Department is also affected by this transformation and has to collaborate closely with CIOs to create more opportunities and increase the company’s performance.

CFOs have different motivations to collaborate with CIOs (from Ernst & Young’s study):

  • 32% of CFO said that one of the motivation is to obtain more precise, accessible and available data
  • 31% to improve information capabilities and business analysis
  • 28% to consolidate systems
  • 25% to understand better the value that IT brings
  • 24% to enter in the digital area

The first element mentioned by the CFOs is very interesting because, by working closely with the IT department on the digital transformation, the finance department is able to obtain more precise data and so can create more opportunities and as a result, increase the company’s performance.

Tony Klimas, Global Finance Performance Improvement Advisory Leader at E&Y, believes that CFOs motivations are based on an awareness concerning IT investment. He declared that “CFOs are becoming much more aware of the strategic value of IT and what it has to offer”, “There is a growing focus not only on what IT costs, but also on the value it brings to the organization.”

As mentioned, the well-being of companies can be closely depending on the CIO-CFO relationship. Deborah Bottineau, senior regional manager of Robert Half Technology, declared that growth in CIO-CFO partnerships is “part of an overall growing trend towards cross-functional interactions”: “As business units become increasingly reliant on one another, it is more necessary than ever for companies to allow all functions the opportunity to communicate, collaborate and drive organizational growth through shared innovation.”

How to improve the interdepartemental collaboration?

As Deborah Bottineau said, it is necessary that companies allow functions to collaborate and to communicate in order to drive company’s performance success! Here are 6 elements that can be interesting to take into account to allow different functions to communicate.

1.By organizing meetings for examples, make the different departments know each and discuss issues affecting the areas of the company, or opportunities or any other subjects.

2.Use messaging in order for the different departments of the organization to discuss their opportunities, goals and challenges

3.Don’t forget that people do not speak the same language because of their differing roles so speak a shared language in order for everyone to understand. Avoid acronyms or industry jargon.

4.Think outside of the company and organize outings to build links between people.

5.You can work with a consultant who will have an objective view of your company’s strengths and weaknesses.

6.Reward your team when the project comes to fruition.

7.Standardize ans share procedures and business rules with all the users of the different business units.

At Shortways, we think that CFOs and CIOs have to become partners to drive success in terms of performance but also to drive a project such as digital transformation, a subject which is becoming a major challenge for companies. From our point of view, the success of this approach involves the commitment from all the employees, in order to drive the company’s performance forward.