'Finance chief here make IT decisions'

PHOTO: 'Finance chief here make IT decisions'

Chief financial officers (CFO) have more say over tech projects in Singapore than they do in a host of other countries, a survey has found.

Half of the Singapore companies surveyed by recruitment firm Robert Half had the CFO or finance director as the primary decision-maker on information technology issues and decisions.

This was well above the average of 40 per cent obtained from the survey of 14 countries.

Despite finance having more control over IT decisions, finance staff and IT staff here were also more collaborative than in any of the other countries surveyed.

About 83 per cent of the respondents cited a rise in collaboration between the IT and finance teams during the last three years, compared with a 61 per cent average.

The survey was done earlier this year. It asked 2,075 CFOs and finance directors in 14 countries, including Australia, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates and Chile, about the role they play in technology decisions in a company. There were 150 respondents from Singapore.

Ms Stella Tang, director of Robert Half here, said many firms still see IT as a cost to business, so they assign responsibility for decision to the finance team. Singapore also has a cost-conscious culture, so the finance leader often has the final say in spending decisions.

"Big-ticket technology items are also carefully scrutinised by the CFO to make sure they are within budget and meet the company's needs," she added.

But for CFOs to do a good job, they must keep up with technological trends, she said.

Chief information officer Alvin Ong of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital said IT decisions on big-ticket items are usually not made by one person.

"The reality is that it is never a one-man decision. There are other stakeholders like the heads of other departments, the chief executive officer and the CFO."

He added that the reporting structure for chief information officers and chief technology officers also mattered in decisionmaking.

"If they reported to the CFO, then the finance department will have more control over IT issues."

chngkeg@sph.com.sg


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