Today’s business environment is more dynamic than ever. Business leaders are focused on strategic initiatives to position their companies for long-term growth, to gain competitive advantage, and to drive shareholder value.

Top of mind for many business leaders are topics like recruiting and retaining top talent, remote work enablement, and digital transformation, to name a few.

As business leaders focus on making strategic decisions around these areas, accounting teams are being increasingly relied upon to provide data and insights and to serve as strategic advisors to the business.

This post is part of a series discussing areas of focus that require active accounting input, why it matters to accounting leaders, and the risk of doing nothing.

The Digital Transformation Revolution

According to the McKinsey Global Survey on digital strategy and investments, nine in ten C-level and senior leaders say their organizations have pursued at least one large-scale digital transformation in the past two years.

Success in these digital initiatives is highly dependent on the relationship between the CFO and CIO. In fact, a Gartner study indicated that companies with strong CFO-CIO relationships are 51% more likely to easily find funding for digital initiatives, 39% more likely to keep digital spending in line with the budget plan, and 18% more likely to achieve intended business outcomes.

Why CFO-CIO Collaboration Matters

The digital transformation revolution has ushered in the concept of data as an enterprise asset. Just like financial operations management is not solely the CFO’s responsibility, managing data cannot reside with the CIO alone. Both are shared responsibilities, and “a strong CFO-CIO partnership is key to having digital technology turn into digital capabilities, which then deliver business, financial, and strategic outcomes,” says Randeep Rathindran, Vice President of Research in the finance practice at Gartner.

For successful digital transformation and successful neutralization of competing priorities, CFOs and CIOs must collaborate to find more efficient ways of working, solutions for optimizing existing processes, and capacity to deliver on strategic initiatives like digital transformation.

Beyond the benefits of successful CFO-CIO relationships, such as increased success of transformation initiatives and ability to keep those initiatives in line with budgets, the benefits related to data are also crucial. Access to timely, accurate data and automated controls and processes contribute additional benefits to leaders as a result of successful collaboration between these two areas.

An organization’s ability to generate timely and reliable data provides a critical foundation for informing and driving business decisions. Preventative, automated processes enabled by digital technologies also help strengthen governance and compliance while reducing risk and saving valuable staff time.

Constant changes and disruptions seem to be the new normal. Whether a global pandemic, inflation, the Great Resignation, or other disruptors, 57% of CEOs say their organizations do not have the capabilities and innovative processes to respond to rapid disruption. Automation is critical for increased resilience and agility, and automation endeavors are more successfully delivered with strong collaboration between the offices of the CFO and CIO.

The Risk of Doing Nothing

Data, systems, and digital transformation are here to stay. According to IDG Marketplace Research, 82% of CFOs reported that their experiences over the last twelve months have intensified their interest in modernizing accounting processes. Without collaborative strategies and plans, accounting and IT leaders risk failed or over-budget digital transformation initiatives, non-compliance with accounting guidance and reporting requirements, and higher maintenance and other costs to serve.

IDG’s research also noted that 94% of accounting and IT teams agree that time spent on accounting, compliance, and financial close gets in the way of other strategic work. With collaboration and joint success, accounting and IT can redeploy capacity. Without it, the manual, repetitive work is not sustainable.

How BlackLine Can Help

BlackLine helps companies unify, orchestrate, and automate end-to-end accounting processes, enabling enhanced accuracy, visibility, control, and insights, all of which contribute to resource flexibility and scalable processes. Leading companies are deploying modern accounting technology like BlackLine to automate tasks, reduce manual effort, and enable a more strategic controllership function.

Perhaps most important to both CFOs and CIOs, BlackLine solutions are business owned and quick to deploy. The cloud nature of BlackLine’s solutions allows for easy configuration changes and little to no maintenance.

Less than a decade ago, on-premise systems maintenance and keeping the systems running dominated the CIO agenda. Even today, supporting and maintaining back-office systems and daily operational business support processes still take an incredible toll on IT resources, with some estimating 75-90% of IT resources consumed in support. With BlackLine, F&A can be autonomous and enable their IT teams to focus on priorities top of mind to their leaders—like improving cybersecurity, implementing new systems, and deploying machine learning, AI, and other intelligent automation throughout the business.

In today’s evolving and demanding environment, the more we can build capacity for professionals across the organization to focus on more strategic work, the more agile our organizations can become and better equipped we are to remain competitive in the marketplace.

Get your copy of this exclusive white paper 5 Ways CIOs & CFOs Can Partner for Digital Success