Three Top Tips on How to Align Your Finance and IT Teams - Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay As finance teams look to digitally transform their operations, the advice and support of IT has become essential. For the full benefits of digital transformation to be realised, the two teams need to be in lockstep. They must work towards a common goal with a clear and unified strategy. However, in reality, the two functions are seldom, if ever, fully aligned.

Lack of alignment runs deep

The lack of alignment between the two functions is stark. Nearly half of senior finance and IT execs surveyed for a new Workday report admit a low degree of alignment and collaboration between these two teams in their business. This lack of alignment has created a significant constraint on the modernisation of finance, which is illustrated by the following findings:

  • Just 34% of IT and finance leaders in the UK and Ireland say that IT regularly advises on emerging technology and leading platforms for finance.
  • Only half of the respondents say that finance and IT jointly select the analytics, reporting, and visualisation tools needed to make critical financial decisions.
  • Just 51% report that finance always helps IT to understand the business strategy and metrics on which finance is measured.

These research findings suggest that business leaders are missing out on major opportunities as a result of the emerging gap between finance and IT. Those businesses that succeed will be those that are able to articulate the importance and value of aligning these two business functions versus those that continue to take a siloed approach. The latter group will find it much harder to source, implement, and optimise the digital technologies that will help them thrive.

Bringing Finance and IT Together

According to the survey, 44% of organisations are currently in the process of developing a digital finance strategy. This indicates that now is the perfect time for businesses lacking functional alignment to bridge the gap between their finance and IT functions. There are several ways that this can be achieved:

  • Focus on skills. Only 39% of the leaders we surveyed believe that their organisation has the required skills to keep pace with new and emerging digital finance technology. Hiring finance professionals with a solid grasp of digital skills can help address this issue. Businesses can also look to upskill existing finance team members in digital technologies. Combined, these approaches will help create a finance team better able to speak the same language as the IT team. They can then collaborate more effectively in finding the best digital solutions for the business as a whole.
  • Greater cross-functional transparency. In business, as in other fields, true alignment can only occur when all stakeholders coalesce around a common vision and pull in the same direction to get there. Business leaders should look to be completely transparent about their wider transformation goals. Doing so will enable the finance team (and others) to better understand how their function fits into the overall business strategy. This approach will also help promote an understanding of the IT team’s priorities.
  • Prioritise data strategy. Currently, only 49% of finance and IT leaders in the UK and Ireland say that their organisation has a unified view of all financial, operational, and people data. Yet this view is essential for effective collaboration with other departments and to drive a winning data strategy. Organisations should look to adopt technology platforms that enable seamless and easily accessible data and information as a priority.

The Role of Leaders

Ultimately, the direction of a business is established by its leaders. This is as true for functional alignment as for anything else. The closer CIOs and CFOs work together to solve challenges, the better aligned their functions will become.

There is, however, work to do. Currently, 44% of organisations in the UK and Ireland report that the CIO does not join critical finance meetings—even when technology is discussed and seen as essential to solving the finance-related business challenge. This is a key point to address. It’s crucial to bring the CIO into those finance meetings and implement broader processes to ensure ongoing collaboration between the CIO and the CFO. Only then can businesses ensure that functional alignment starts at the highest levels.

From Alignment to Success

We are living in uncertain and ever-changing times. CFOs and their teams need the benefits of successful digital transformation now more than ever. Digital transformation can automate costly and time-consuming processes and enable data-driven insights to map a course through economic volatility.

Any barrier in the way of digital finance needs to be addressed promptly, starting with the lack of alignment with IT. A unified data strategy that ensures all departments can view and collaborate on all important business data is crucial to ensuring finance and IT functions – as well as all other business functions – can work in harmony. These businesses will be in the best position for long-term success. The rest may struggle just to keep up.

Workday LogoWorkday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, helping customers adapt and thrive in a changing world. Workday applications for financial management, human resources, planning, spend management, and analytics have been adopted by thousands of organisations around the world and across industries—from medium-sized businesses to more than 45 percent of the Fortune 500. For more information about Workday, visit


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