A report by Deloitte has identified three ways to strengthen the CFO-CIO partnership in order to enhance the value delivered by each to the business.

The report – “Three Ways to Strengthen the CFO-CIO Partnership” – was compiled following a poll taken during a recent Deloitte webcast that revealed less than one-third of CFOs and CIOs shared a strong partnership characterized by mutual understanding. The report´s authors considered that, in an age when technology is playing a larger role in every aspect of business, it is more important than ever CFOs collaborate closely and effectively with CIOs.

The authors claim that the majority of CFOs and CIOs already acknowledge the importance of building a strong partnership because of the significant proportion of a company´s budget dedicated to IT. However, Deloitte´s own survey revealed that just 22% of CIOs reported to CFOs – prompting the authors to suggest three key areas in which CFOs and CIOs could strengthen their partnership to enhance the value delivered by each to the business.

Understand, Communicate and Collaborate

The first key area is “mutual understanding”. The authors surmised that, despite there being key differences between the two roles, there were commonalities that CFOs and CIOs can identify to achieve a mutual understanding. In order to develop the partnership, CFOs should try to understand more about IT strategy (rather than focus on IT cost management), while CIOs should provide a better explanation of IT issues in a language that CFOs will understand.

The efforts made by each to develop the partnership will evolve into “effective communication” – the second of Deloitte´s key areas. The report´s authors claim that CFOs typically speak one language – the language of finance – while CIOs can only speak in the language of technology. They argue that different perspectives and communication styles can be overcome with a little effort to help each party communicate more effectively with the other.

The third key area is “collaboration”. A 2013 survey by PwC showed that organizations reporting strong collaboration between CFOs and CIOs were four times as likely as those with less collaborative teams to be top performers. Deloitte suggests CFOs and CIOs should identify opportunities to collaborate in order to improve strategies for managing IT and for providing better data and insight in order to strengthen the tactical efforts necessary to implement, maintain and upgrade mission critical information and financial systems.

The stronger CFO-CIO partnership that results, the authors claim, will create a successful framework for analyzing current and future IT capabilities and enhance the value delivered by each to the business.