Only five percent of chief information officers have the power to authorise IT investments, according to a Gartner report.

Chief financial officers' influence in IT is growing, as CFOs alone have authorised 26 percent of all IT investments, the analyst house found. These figures are from research conducted by analyst Gartner, the non-profit Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), and the Committee of Finance & IT (CFIT) at Financial Executives International (FEI).

The research, designed to gather perceptions from financial executives about technology, key trends and planned improvements to operations, also showed that 42 percent of IT organisations report directly to the CFO, and 33 percent of IT organisations are reporting to the CEO.

To obtain the results Gartner and FERF surveyed 344 respondents who "were qualified in providing a perspective on technology deployment within their organisation".

Gartner analyst John Van Decker said: "This high level of reporting to the CFO, as well as their influence in technology investments, demonstrates the need for companies to ensure that their CFO is educated on technology, and underscores just how critical it is that the CIO and CFO have a common understanding on how to leverage enterprise technology."

The survey also showed that senior financial executives expect IT spending to "recover conservatively" in 2011, with 38 percent of respondents saying that they do not expect this growth to reach the level experienced before the recession in 2008. The survey found that 40 percent see the level of growth consistent with 2010.

The top IT investment priorities from the CFO's perspective were business intelligence and enterprise business applications such as ERP and integrated financial management.