The year in finance: Cloud computing, cost-cutting and iPhone apps

The big issues for CFOs over the last 12 months
Written by Tim Ferguson, Contributor

The big issues for CFOs over the last 12 months

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2010, silicon.com looks back at the biggest finance stories of the year.

While the economic situation may have been on the up in 2010, the big issues occupying finance chiefs remained how to keep costs under control and get the most from tech investments.

With CFOs increasingly becoming more involved in IT decisions - as shown by CFOs: The power behind IT's throne - silicon.com outlined five IT-related initiatives that finance chiefs needed to pursue following the credit crunch. Harmonising processes and standardising systems were among the areas to look at, according to Five things CFOs must do in IT after recession.

With money-saving showing no sign of falling off CFOs to-do lists, finance heads were advised to keep an eye on the software licences that businesses hold, in Software audits: The pitfalls you need to know about.

Meanwhile, silicon.com's Naked CIO despaired about the wasteful spending of some organisations on unnecessary IT compliance initiatives, calling for an end to cash-grab fees in Naked CIO: We must halt the creep of phony IT compliance.

Outsourcing remained on the business execs' agendas in 2010 and CFOs were no exception: one research house predicted 2010 would be a big year with CFOs spending $3.7bn on outsourcing, while silicon.com provided advice to help organisations save money when employing third-party service providers in Outsourcing IT? Top five tips to save you cash.

Another CFO priority in 2010 was to getting a better handle on data held within the organisation by investing in technology and managing information more effectively - an issue that was explored in CFOs need to get a grip on their data.

A useful technology for making financial data easier to manage is eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). XBRL is essentially a way of labelling financial information so it can be processed automatically by software, and silicon.com got the full lowdown on how XBRL could help finance departments in Cheat Sheet: XBRL.

One of the biggest IT topics across the board in 2010 was cloud computing, with some CFOs already starting to see the appeal of the technology. Cloud's potential to offer fewer upfront costs and financial flexibility are among the reasons Why CIOs and CFOs are learning to love the cloud.

But despite some CFOs being attracted to cloud computing, others remain concerned about reliability, data security and existing investments in in-house systems. silicon.com examined the other side of the CFO cloud debate in What's stopping CFOs putting their money on cloud computing?.

And finally, reflecting the growing use of sophisticated mobile devices in the workplace, silicon.com picked 10 of the best iPhone applications for finance workers. Included in the line-up were a currency converter and the Financial Times app. See what others made the list in Photos: 10 iPhone apps for finance professionals.

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