10 Ways to Win Over Your CFO

 
 
By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 12-24-2013 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

He doesn't claim to be an expert on all things tech. But you can't address him as if he's an IT neophyte either. He's known for asking the tough questions. But, ultimately, he has the interest of your entire organization at heart. He's your CFO. And it's very likely that you won't be able to justify a single, major tech deployment without his backing. Which means you need to talk his language in proposing an IT acquisition. With this in mind, consider these 10 tips on pitching the CFO from Ken Goldman, who is CFO of Black Duck Software, which markets open-source solutions for governance and compliance for automotive, finance and other industries. For starters, it's wise to focus on shared interests with the CFO instead of your differences, Goldman says. After all, both of you want to see the company succeed. Secondly, you should craft any proposal with a business-minded approach, using sound documentation and dialing back on any blustery sales talk. And you must have an answer for all of his questions—before he asks them. For more about Black Duck, click here

 
 
 
  • Assess Your CFO's Role

    Depending upon your company's maturity, he's either a builder (hired within the first five years), an enabler (hired after the first five years) or protector (post-IPO or after a decision to remain private).
    Assess Your CFO's Role
  • Be Prepared to Defend Past IT Purchases

    Do research. Read analysts' reports. Talk to peers. Demonstrate how tech decisions led to business-serving initiatives.
    Be Prepared to Defend Past IT Purchases
  • Focus on Buying Without Selling

    Like anyone else, CFOs like to buy good things. But don't get too hyped by overselling here. Stick to what's proven and documentable.
    Focus on Buying Without Selling
  • Understand the Essence of Finance

    A CFO is primarily concerned with an IT acquisition's impact on cash flow versus earnings, allocation of resources and timing. You need to figure out how the last part will impact the first two.
    Understand the Essence of Finance
  • Make ROI Stories Relevant

    Find ones within your industry which demonstrate how the tech acquisition in question helped companies solve "real" problems.
    Make ROI Stories Relevant
  • Dig Into the Details

    You'll have to answer lots of sharp questions: Is this new tech or is it replacing something old? If the latter, why is it outdated? Is this a one, three or five year investment? License or subscription?
    Dig Into the Details
  • Always Remember That CFOs Love to Win

    So ask for more than you need, so you have room to give something up.
    Always Remember That CFOs Love to Win
  • Set an Appealing Time Frame for Pay Back

    Hint: Anything beyond three years is not soon enough.
    Set an Appealing Time Frame for Pay Back
  • Know When Not to Bring Up an IT Request

    Never at the end of a quarter, because that's when the CFO is squaring books while helping sales close deals. And not during any board-meeting week.
    Know When Not to Bring Up an IT Request
  • Know When to Bring Up an IT Request

    The sweet spot of IT-acquisition pitch timing: Sometime during Q3, when funds are often uncommitted.
    Know When to Bring Up an IT Request
 
 
 
 
 
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date