CFOs list top 3 concerns: What it means for IT

In most businesses, IT must get projects approved by the CFO. The best way to make that process a little less painful: Understand what really matters to your company’s top finance exec.

Not surprisingly, CFOs’ top concerns have to do with controlling costs. Specifically, in a recent survey of 1,400 CFOs conducted by Robert Half International, finance executives ranked their top three worries right now as:

  1. Coping with rising healthcare costs
  2. Controlling spending and improving profitability, and
  3. Increasing staff morale and motivation.

In a similar survey conducted by Robert Half in 2006, CFOs also ranked healthcare costs as their top concern. This year, that made the top ranking again largely due to concern over recent health reform legislation will affect employers.

Though the IT department has no control over insurance costs, the takeaway for IT managers is that CFOs will have to deal with rising healthcare costs and other budget-hogging items in part by boosting efficiency in other areas.

That explains the second concern listed in the survey — in general, CFOs are under more pressure than ever to control spending and boost company profits.

Keeping the company profitable also means companies must focus on keeping employees happy and retaining their top performers. When morale is high, so is productivity, and replacing talented employees is expensive.

IT managers must keep those concerns in mind when presenting any proposal to the CFO. Potential projects should explained in terms that address those issues. If the CFO doesn’t understand how the project will cut costs, boost profits or make employees happier and more productive, it’s not likely to go very far.

For more information, download Robert Half’s report here.  Also check out our latest whitepaper on increasing IT spending.