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How many CFO's have the CIO as a direct report?

Does it really matter anymore that the CIO be a direct report?  

Is the move from "Ownership" to "Custodianship" of the  Finance/Accounting data by the CFO enabling the CIO to move to a full seat at the C-table?

What's your point of view?

Answers

Topic Expert
Randy Miller
Title: Partner
Company: CFO Edge
(Partner, CFO Edge) |

I think that in a lot of small to mid-size companies the CFO inherits the CIO by default. Unless it is a tech company, the CEO usually doesn't have the interest and the COO is too tied up in sales and operations. Since finance is so data heavy, CFO's have a vested interest in ensuring that the CIO's voice is heard.

Topic Expert
Brenda Goudey
Title: CFO/VP of Finance
Company: KDR Designer Showrooms
(CFO/VP of Finance, KDR Designer Showrooms) |

I agree Randy - the CFO cares the most. Our company is so small that we don't have a CIO, so the IT responsibilities fall on me.

Topic Expert
Randy Miller
Title: Partner
Company: CFO Edge
(Partner, CFO Edge) |

I have been there too. Then I usually look for an outside IT service to fill in the gaps (large) in my IT skills. I used All Covered on several occasions and found that not only was the service excellent, but because they were servicing many different equipment platforms our company benefited from a much broader knowledge base than an inside IT function would have been able to keep up with.

Bryan Frey
Title: VP Finance/Corp Controller
Company:
(VP Finance/Corp Controller, ) |

I have had the CIO (or Director of IT, depending on company size) report to me many times. I think that with the move to the cloud there will actually be more of a trend to moving IT under the CFO (a.k.a. the head of all things non-sales, marketing and mfg) rather than it becoming more prevalent that they report to the CEO directly.

IT used to be so tough that e-staff really needed a CIO at the highest level to make sure things like networking and desktop apps were available and functioning. Now, that stuff is so "done" that it's almost an afterthought. Add to that the trend towards the cloud and other people "owning" what used to be the company's tech and app infrastructure, and you have internal IT losing prominence and significance. Note that I did not say "importance", that's a twist, and clearly data and technology are more important than ever. It's just that internal IT has less and less to do with that.

I do believe that today's great CIOs are at the vanguard of helping their companies assess and move to new technology, as well as move away from building an army of IT folks to feather their nest.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Are we not confusing what a CIO does with not only a CTO, but with the other functions that would fall beneath a CIO?

An example is lumping all accountants together as one. We know that their are bookkeepers, accountants, Controller's, Treasurers, CFO's, Public Accountants, etc. Each group (and there are many more) have either specific skill sets or limited and narrow skill sets.

The same can be said in the IT realm, and if this is true, why is the CIO not a full-member at the C-table?

Bryan Frey
Title: VP Finance/Corp Controller
Company:
(VP Finance/Corp Controller, ) |

My definition of CIO is the person leading internal IT/systems efforts. That is, email, ERP, CRM, etc.. A CTO is the person leading a company's product efforts. Thus, a CTO would drive new tech for, say, Cisco's next generation router which will become their next salable product. Was I not making sense in my discussion of CIO? I do that sometimes :).

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Brian,

I don't 100% agree with your definition of a CIO. I believe the role includes what you say, but is far more reaching and far more limited.

An example: while they would definitely be part of the team that helps decided what ERP system to pick, they wouldn't be the decision maker.

They would be the decision maker on which e-mail system to use.

They would be the decision maker on the technologies used in the external website, the director of the programmatic elements but not in-charge of the ultimate design or content.

As such, and these are just a small example, there role, decision making and supportive roles don't neatly fit under the CFO. I truly believe they are a C-seat unto themselves. Yes, they will have many reporting routes, some being the CFO, some the CEO, COO, CMO, CTO and the list can go on, but I don't see any direct report solely to the CFO.

That being said, most CFO's are saddled with IT with many of us mucking up the process from lack of education. I know of one major hospital whose CFO is crippling their IT efforts from sheer stupidity, because the CIO reports to that person. Medicine is understood, cryptic technology is not...

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