Finance pros in UK report increasing responsibility for IT decisions

Seventy-seven percent of senior finance professionals participating in a recent survey said they have gained greater responsibility for IT purchasing decisions in the last two years.

The growing IT responsibility, reported by finance executives at large organisations in the UK, is emerging amid increased scrutiny of internal costs and the availability of new external technology solutions.

The research was delivered in “The Changing Role of the CFO”, a report by information and communications technology provider Getronics. The survey, which was conducted in January, included 203 finance executives at UK organisations employing at least 500 people, and revealed a changing landscape with increased integration between IT and finance.

The situation appears to have put the future role of the CIO in flux. Seventeen percent of respondents said the CIO’s role will disappear altogether within five years, and 43% said the CIO role will merge with the CFO role. At the same time, though, the CIO’s role in finance was reported as significant, as 41% of finance executives said accountability for spending is a key CIO requirement, and 47% believe the CIO will have greater responsibility to the board over the next five years.

Improving operational efficiency is a key priority in 2012 for 53% of the respondents, and 64% said maintenance of the IT structure is a key concern in managing IT costs.

The shift in thinking away from maintaining current IT infrastructures is illustrated by the fact that just two in five surveyed saw the upgrading of legacy systems as a priority. Three in five reported a trend toward services and away from licence-based IT spending.

Business adoption of cloud computing seems to be progressing at a moderate rate. Improvements to operations and increased response speeds were cited by 64% as a reason for cloud adoption; 36% cited cost reductions. Finance professionals have significant involvement in the decision process around cloud adoption: 38% reported direct participation after initiating a cloud solution, and an additional 39% became involved after initiation by IT.

Ken Tysiac ( is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.