To read this content please select one of the options below:

Public sector CFOs and CIOs: impacts of work proximity and role perceptions

James Stephen Denford (Department of Management, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Canada)
Kurt Schobel (Department of Management, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Canada)

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change

ISSN: 1832-5912

Article publication date: 25 March 2021

Issue publication date: 1 June 2021

301

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the unique and challenging relationship between the chief financial officer (CFO) and chief information officer (CIO) in the public sector.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, the authors operationalize the CFO–CIO relationship using upper echelon theory (UET) and propose an extension to it by introducing relationship effectiveness and role perception constructs. Applying a configurational approach to paired survey data, the authors use fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis to examine both joint and individual role paths to success.

Findings

The CFO is ultimately responsible for financial reporting, disclosure and financial decision-making; however, regulatory changes in the accounting domain have resulted in the increased use of information technology (IT) thereby bringing the CIO to the forefront of the accounting information discussion. Thus, an improved understanding of the CFO/CIO relationship can have a direct impact on how accounting information is captured and analyzed. The authors find that CFO and CIO proximity can often increase the likelihood of an effective relationship. On an individual level, an ambidextrous approach to strategic value and cost-effectiveness is key to both CFO and CIO success.

Research limitations/implications

This study extends current models of top management team relationships by examining work proximity and role perception in the context of UET. It was conducted within the context of Canadian government and post-secondary education. The authors believe the findings can be generalized for the public sector in general; however, its applicability in the private sector, where the role of the CFO is broader, is uncertain.

Practical implications

The findings identify an opportunity for both accounting (financial) and IT communities to develop education within the context of their respective professional bodies to enhance this special relationship.

Originality/value

Recent regulatory changes in the accounting domain have brought an increased need for IT and therefore increased interaction between the CFO and CIO. This study focuses on the unique relationship between the CFO and CIO, which has a direct impact on accounting functions and highlights the importance of both the CFO and CIO having an ambidextrous approach to strategic value and cost-effectiveness if they want to be successful. In addition, it demonstrates that the relationship between the CFO and CIO is important, but more important for the success of the CIO than the CFO.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Royal Military College of Canada for a grant in the amount of $2000 to support this research.

Citation

Denford, J.S. and Schobel, K. (2021), "Public sector CFOs and CIOs: impacts of work proximity and role perceptions", Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 436-456. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAOC-09-2019-0099

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles