Team meeting


Three ways to strengthen the CFO-CIO partnership

Mutual understanding, effective communication, and collaboration

Now is the time for CFOs and CIOs to reexamine and refresh the strength of their relationship, to support a smooth transition and to demonstrate that the agency is functioning well.

Three critical actions

The mission of a federal agency is centered on providing a service, providing oversight, or defending our nation; the CIO and CFO of an agency play a key role in helping accomplish this mission. In this issue of Federal CFO Insights, we’ll discuss three actions critical to realizing a stronger CFO-CIO partnership:

  1. Achieve mutual understanding: In many agencies, the CIO mandate is similar to that of the CFOs—to ensure that the current business operations are running efficiently and effectively while helping shape a strategy which meets the needs of the mission into the future. To understand these commonalities, CFOs can identify how the CIOs can collaborate within the “Four Faces” framework associated with the CFO’s primary roles.
  2. Establish effective communications: One major challenge to effective communication between CFOs and CIOs is that one speaks the language of finance, the other technology. The result is a difference in communication styles and perspectives. Understanding one's own behaviors and communication patterns as well as that of the executive you're working with can be enormously helpful in fostering collaboration.
  3. Identify opportunities to collaborate on delivering value to the agency: While mutual understanding and strong communication form the basis for effective CFO-CIO collaboration, another element is to connect IT initiatives to agency mission. An effective approach is for CFOs and CIOs to collaborate on IT investment strategies that drive the agency mission forward through process efficiency, compliance, cost savings, elimination of waste, and increase in visibility. CFOs can also help CIOs articulate how IT impacts specific, key business processes.

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A framework for IT investment governance

​An important area where CFOs and CIOs can collaborate is on a common approach to IT investments that accounts for value, risk, and alignment to agency mission. The result: a comprehensive IT investment governance framework that allows key executives to look at the opportunity and risk implications of an investment together. An effective governance framework for IT investments typically divides governance among three groups with the responsibilities of: investment control, technology governance, and program/project oversight.

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