CFO tops CIO as main IT decision maker in Singapore

CFO tops CIO as main IT decision maker in Singapore

Summary: Chief financial officers in Singapore have more say over their IT counterparts, with 50 percent of respondents in a survey pointing to these executives as the main IT decision makers in their organization.


Chief financial officers (CFOs) in Singapore have more control over their company's IT decisions, compared to their peers in the rest of the world, and should therefore remain update on the latest technology trends. 

Special Feature

The Battle for the Soul of IT

The Battle for the Soul of IT

It's no secret that the CIO is losing influence in today's corporate world as other executives gain more control over technology decision-making. Can CIOs transform themselves from infrastructure jockeys into digital symphony conductors, or will other executives become the most influential voices in tech?

According to survey findings released Tuesday by executive recruitment firm Robert Half, 50 percent of respondents in Singapore pointed to the CFO--not the CIO or CTO--as the primary IT decision maker in their organization. This figure was higher than the global average of 40 percent, and highest among the countries surveyed. The study polled 2,075 CFOs and finance heads in 14 countries, 150 of whom were from Singapore, about their roles in technology decisions. Other nations included Australia, Hong Kong, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

In Singapore, though, the finance and IT teams were among the most collaborative. Some 83 percent of respondents noted higher collaboration between these two teams over the last three years, compared to the global average of 61 percent. Some 67 percent said the heightened collaboration led to improve efficiency, while 48 percent said it increased profitability for their company, and 23 percent it helped lower business costs. 

Noting that most companies still regarded IT as a cost to business, Stella Tang, Robert Half's Singapore director, said responsibility for such decisions would then be given to the finance team. "Singapore companies appear to have developed their own approach to making IT decisions, [where] finance has a much greater responsibility for IT decisions based on a more collaborative approach between the finance and IT teams.

"What is clear from the survey is that finance professionals in Singapore need to keep up to date with trends in technology," Tang noted. "The finance leaders of tomorrow need to get a lot more involved in the IT aspects of their company's business if they are to effectively use their decision-making power."

Robert Half CFO survey
(Source: Robert Half, November 2013)


Topics: CXO, IT Employment, Leadership


Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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1 comment
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  • Good and bad collaboration

    A company's decision to hire CIO means that they treat IT as critical role to the organisation.
    However, if the decision is left to the CFO to the final call, will it be better to hire a IT manager reports to the CFO. It will help company to save cost immediately.
    I can understand today IT is more like a finance tool. Most of the IT package or system seems to focus on "cost". Look around 99% package are designed this way. Even there are very good modules, it will not be discussed.
    The question is "who are the users and who are the one finally require the report".
    I observed many companies in fact increase manpower rather implement certain IT system (software package). Some even double the manpower of certain department.
    We all know an IT system is supposed to reduce work load and improve productivity.
    Because most of the time during the software selection and even implementation stage, it is the finance people and people who want number are the people that are doing the talking.
    All IT personnels are simply note-takers. And the CFO is either sit on one side watching or talk as if like a a finance guy. Oh yes, don't forget the CEO, is also talking number.
    IT's role is to simplify and smoothen the company overall operation system.
    Part of the issues here is IT personnels are not strong in operation, hence not able to provide a total solution.
    And part of the issues here is all softwares are basically alike. It is like going to a shopping mall, looking for shirts or trousers. If OK and not so fit, get the tailor to make slight modification.
    If one really wants to have shirt or trouser fits nicely and perfectly to his/her body, he must custom-make. Because everybody's body are not alike.
    Most companies, people are slave to the system rather then the system is slave to the people.