Having a Finance Manager oversee IT, Genius or Not so Great?

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, IT projects have become increasingly critical for organizations. As a result, finance executives are often called upon to manage IT projects, despite their lack of technical expertise in this field. This article will explore why CFOs may fall into the trap of delegating IT projects to finance managers, the circumstances in which a finance manager can effectively oversee IT projects, the challenges that arise when finance managers look after IT projects, and what CFOs can do to transition IT projects from finance managers to the right person.

Why do CFOs fall in the trap of having a Finance Manager Deal with IT Projects?

CFOs often delegate IT projects to finance managers due to their familiarity with managing budgets and financial resources. However, research shows that this approach can lead to several challenges. According to a survey conducted by Protiviti, 51% of CFOs cited a lack of IT expertise as the main challenge in managing IT projects. Furthermore, a study by Deloitte found that 48% of CFOs do not have enough time to focus on IT projects, and 44% lack the necessary resources to manage these initiatives effectively. According to a study by Capterra, a leading project management software provider, over 50% of IT projects fail due to poor project management. Effective IT project management requires a unique set of skills that go beyond financial management, including technical expertise, cross-functional collaboration, and risk management.

The circumstances in which a Finance Manager can Oversee IT Projects

The circumstances in which a Finance Manager can Oversee IT Projects

While delegating IT projects to finance managers can present challenges, there are some circumstances in which a finance manager can effectively oversee IT projects. For example, if the IT project primarily involves managing financial resources and budgets, a finance manager may be well-suited to oversee the project. Additionally, if the IT project is relatively small or straightforward, a finance manager may be able to effectively manage it with some support from IT professionals. A study by Gartner found that CFOs are most likely to be involved in IT projects that focus on finance and accounting, such as implementing financial management software.

The challenges when a Finance Manager Looks after IT Projects

However, there are several challenges when a finance manager looks after IT projects. Firstly, they may lack the technical expertise required to effectively manage complex IT initiatives. This can lead to delays, cost overruns, and other issues that can negatively impact the organization. According to a survey by McKinsey & Company, 56% of respondents stated that a lack of technical expertise is a common reason why IT projects fail. Secondly, IT projects often involve significant business process changes and impact multiple departments within an organization. A finance manager may not have the necessary cross-functional expertise to effectively manage these types of projects and ensure that all stakeholders are properly engaged and aligned. Finally, IT projects can have a significant impact on an organization’s overall strategy and competitive position. CFOs who delegate IT projects to finance managers may be missing out on the opportunity to leverage IT as a strategic asset and drive innovation within their organization.

What can CFOs do to transition IT Projects from a Finance Manager to the Right Person?

To transition IT projects from a finance manager to the right person, CFOs should carefully consider the skills and expertise required to effectively manage IT projects. They should identify individuals within their organization who have the technical expertise and cross-functional experience required to lead complex IT initiatives. Additionally, CFOs should ensure that IT projects are aligned with the overall strategy and goals of the organization, and that the right resources are allocated to support these initiatives.

CFOs can also consider outsourcing IT project management to a third-party provider with the necessary technical expertise and experience. A survey by Gartner found that CFOs are increasingly relying on external service providers to manage IT projects. Outsourcing IT project management can free up internal resources and ensure that projects are managed effectively, on time, and within budget.

Get an IT Project Assessment

Get an IT Project Assessment

If you are struggling with managing complex IT projects, Mindfield can help. Our team of IT experts can provide an IT project assessment to help you identify the skills and resources required to successfully manage your IT projects. Our assessment includes a comprehensive review of your organization’s IT project management processes, tools, and resources, and provides actionable recommendations to optimize your IT project management approach. We also offer IT project management services, including project planning, execution, and monitoring, to ensure that your IT projects are delivered on time, within budget, and to the highest quality standards.

For example, one of our clients, a large financial services organization, was struggling to manage a complex IT project to implement a new financial management system. Despite having a team of finance managers overseeing the project, they were experiencing delays, cost overruns, and stakeholder dissatisfaction. Mindfield conducted an IT project assessment and identified several gaps in their project management approach, including a lack of technical expertise and cross-functional alignment. We provided recommendations to address these gaps and implemented a new project management approach, leveraging our IT project management expertise and cross-functional experience. As a result, the project was successfully completed within the target timeline and budget, and the client achieved significant cost savings and process efficiencies.

 

Thank You

In conclusion, while finance managers may have the necessary financial expertise to manage IT projects, they may not have the technical expertise and cross-functional experience required to effectively manage complex IT initiatives. CFOs should carefully consider the skills and resources required to successfully manage IT projects and identify the right individuals or external service providers to lead these initiatives. Mindfield can help CFOs optimize their IT project management approach by providing IT project assessments and project management services to ensure that IT projects are delivered on time, within budget, and to the highest quality standards.

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