See also: Is the CFO the new CIO?
CIOs are pretty good at budget management as it plays to their strong suit of logic and analysis.
However, every organisation has its own quirks when it comes to accounting and you need to familiarise yourself thoroughly with their practices to avoid nasty surprises.
“I’ve seen the situation where someone has had to hold onto the coat tails of the FD and the CIO,” says Campbell McLundie of accountants Scott-Moncrieff.
The reason was an IT project that was delivered within budget but ahead of schedule, so cash wasn’t allocated to it.
Instead of plaudits, the CIO got a thorough dressing down from the FD.
To avoid similar budgeting gaffes, check these 10 tips from the CIO panel of experts: Ibukun Adebayo, CIO of Turning Point; Campbell McLundie, consulting partner at Scott-Moncrieff; and Sheila Bryant, CFO and company secretary Leading Resolutions:
1. Make wise purchases
Sound budget management is not unlike good housekeeping.
You need to review your purchases and assets regularly to see that you get value for money and do not duplicate and waste money.
Spotting what will be important for the business and prioritising these purchases is important.
If consumers or clients are buying your wares over the internet, for example, equipping staff with mobile technology may be imperative in order to cope with this new business model.
2. Watch the salary budget
Salary is typically the biggest item on a CIO’s budget, accounting for 50 to 60 per cent of the total pot.
Canny recruitment can yield huge cost savings.
Three years ago, the social care charity Turning Point decided to grow its own staff in house, rather than recruiting experienced staff when the need arose.
Today two of the original crop have remained and have been promoted, and this highly motivated talent has been acquired much more cheaply than going to market.
3. Measure ROI
Nothing’s cheap if it doesn’t offer the business long-term benefit, but measuring return on investment is something most businesses are bad at.