The role of the CFO has evolved dramatically in recent years, especially with finance and IT becoming more connected than ever before. Besides managing the company’s finances from top to bottom, CFOs now have many new responsibilities to fulfil.
They also have a much bigger strategic role in the organisation, far beyond financial planning, financial risk management, financial growth management, benchmarking and forecasting, and providing financial reports.
Today’s CFOs need to drive the development and implementation of procedures for tracking company assets and oversee the quality control throughout their lifecycles. More importantly, they need to assist with procurement strategies to optimise technology spend across the organisation.
They also need to be aware of potential financial risks and how it will affect the organisation’s overall growth strategy. They must be aware of compliance and fraud risks, something that could cripple any company.
The CFO has a massive responsibility to uncover new opportunities to grow revenue and reduce costs, in all areas of the company. They must communicate actively across the organisation to provide accurate insight and analysis whenever needed.
IT Asset Management (ITAM) has now also become part of the CFO’s long-term strategy for growth and risk management. However, they need to be educated on the residual value that can be extracted from most end-of-lease or end-of-life IT equipment.
CFOs need to realise that they are ultimately responsible for the daily and long-term strategic management of IT assets within the organisation. This includes planning, monitoring and recording software licenses and hardware assets to ensure compliance with vendor contracts while trying to reduce total cost of ownership
Although they are concerned with cost management and effective use of resource, they usually do not instigate the recovery of value from IT equipment and IT software once they get wind of the potential they always drive the agenda.
IT or finance?
There is always confusion as to the responsibility of ITAM is, whether it should fall under IT or finance. While the day-to-day management of IT assets normally fall under the IT Asset Manager, one also needs to consider how technology and IT assets affect the entire company including the financial impact across the organisation.
Compliance risks could be costly to any company, so one needs to question how CFOs will be able to quickly assess data risks and the cost of resolving them. For this reason, ITAM should be a key focus for CFOs and it needs to be part of the company’s financial strategy.
In order to develop a long-term financial strategy, CFOs require an accurate IT asset inventory and quick access to IT asset data for this analysis. Additionally, the only way they can increase the return on investment of company IT assets and make profitable procurement and disposition decisions, is with accurate, easily accessible data.
CFOs are responsible to grow revenue and reduce cost within the organisation, they need to prepare and manage IT asset capital and expense budgets. It also includes monitoring and controlling expenses within allotted budgets and collaborating with management to define cost savings, asset compliances and service improvements.
They need to be part of the process of designing and executing asset management policies, procedures and processes. More importantly, they need to use the asset management tools to analyse, review and track asset data.
CFOs need to develop asset control processes to manage asset reconciliation and asset disposal agreements and monitor accountability. They also need to assist in inventory management, procurement, ensure audit compliance for all IT assets and manage purchasing decisions.