Oracle survey examines evolving CFO role, cooperation with CIOs

A new report from Oracle hones in on how the role of the chief financial officer is shifting worldwide.

There has been plenty of coverage surrounding responsibility overlaps at the C-level as IT decisions start to require more attention from just about everyone.

More of the attention has been on blurred lines between the chief marketing officer and chief information officer , with some companies even installing chief digital officers , among other fancy new executive titles.

But the chief financial officer can't escape these new realities either.

In partnership with Accenture, Oracle commissioned the Longitude Research group to survey 930 chief information officers across Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America about how the role of the CFO is shifting from just the financial overseer to also be responsible for corporate strategy and initiating change -- including at the IT level.

According to the report, The CFO as Catalyst for Change, researchers found that 71 percent of respondents believe the overall level of the CFOs’ strategic influence has increased over the last three years.

Approximately 34 percent think CFOs play only a minority play a leading role in strategy formulation, while 24 percent affirmed the same on just strategy execution.

But there's a lot more teamwork at the C-level now too.

Roughly 84% of CFOs affirmed there is more cooperation between themselves and their company CIOs over the last three years. Here's why:

Asked where they most need to improve their own capabilities, many CFOs cite knowledge of technology as key area of focus (see chart 8). Indeed, only industry knowledge is seen as a greater priority. As mobile, analytics, cloud computing, and other major trends play a greater role in both the cost and growth agendas, better understanding of technology is becoming a critical capability for today’s CFOs.

This does not necessarily mean that CFOs need in-depth technical knowledge or be able to manage technology on a day-to-day basis. For Ms. Washington of Gilead, it is the application of technology that matters. “Thinking about how to leverage technology is certainly vital,” she explains. “But more importantly, I need to focus on implementing effective business processes because, as we grow, it is my job is to ensure that we continue to do so profitably.”

Oracle has also published a new benchmark tool for CFOs to assess their organizations.

By completing a short survey of 10 multiple choice questions, CFOs are supposed to be able to receive both a personalized benchmarking report and identify where their organizations are on the "business transformation journey."


Infographic via Oracle