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6 things that should be in the CFO's budget -- not mine!

6 things that should be in the CFO's budget -- not mine!

CIOs are from Venus. CFOs are from Mars. And nowhere is this more obvious than at budget time.

3. New applications

Like window tinting, alloy wheels or GPS navigation, it’s the cost of extras and add-ons that can really hurt. So who should pay for the cool but non-essential technology baubles?

If the gung-ho types in sales and marketing want some new trinkets or frippery attached to the company’s CRM then it’s a cost I’ll send their way

Anonymous CIO from an Australian manufacturing company

One CIO at a mid-size Australian manufacturing company says the costs of developing new applications that benefit only one section of a business clearly belong with that business unit.

“For example, if the gung-ho types in sales and marketing want some new trinkets or frippery attached to the company’s CRM then it’s a cost I’ll send their way,” he says. “Same for the financial types who want to tweak the risk management software. Every tweak costs money, so it’s a classic chargeback in my book.”

4. Everything

There are those brazen CIOs who claim they can make a case to have someone else pay for everything. Simarjit Chhabra, the CIO of fire detection and security specialists Xtralis, would start with people.

“This should be part of the HR budget,” he says. “After all, what is the activity of human resources other than providing resources for humans?”

More than half a CIO’s budget deals with human resources, so even a novice CIO should be able to reduce his or her budget by 50 percent simply by sending those bills back to the HR Director. If you haven’t met your HR Director, they’re easy to find: they’re the ones organising the wellness program.

Chhabra would then move onto communications costs -- landlines, mobiles, Internet, PABX, etc. And he could be onto something. CIO knows of one ASX 100 company that made its business units pay for their employees’ use of mobile phones and saw the bill drop by almost half.

“This should be part of the marketing budget as they need you to communicate with customers,” Chhabra says. “Most of us in IT don’t like to talk to anyone. We’d prefer to hide in our comfort zones.”

Chhabra also takes aim at hardware and software maintenance. “This should be part of the facilities management budget,” he says. “After all, don’t they manage maintenance of other building activities? Why should IT equipment be given alien treatment?”

Stand back, he’s not finished. . .

“And we’ll throw in the computer leases,” he says. “This should be part of the finance budget. After all, they’re the people who are meant to manage the leases for the building, furniture, cars and our other tools of trade.”

Finally, proving that chargeback, bravado and Red Bull make for a heady cocktail, Chhabra says all IT travel expenses should also be put on the CFO’s tab.

“Hawaii, Bermuda, Maldives -- that sort of thing. This should be mandated by the CEO for all IT personnel. It’s essential for IT to learn to relax, socialise and develop new people skills, so these trips would need to be sanctioned every six months as part of the firm’s R&D budget. There would be massive ROI.”

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Tags CFOIT budgetsCEO CIO RelationshipCIO numbers series

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