No corporate hierarchy is exactly the same as another.
This is especially true when it comes to who the various teams within an organization report to.
For example, some businesses may have their administrative department answer to the CEO, while other businesses might have an administrative manager who oversees the rest of the team.
When it comes to who should be holding the IT staff accountable in a business, there's no clear cut answer.
However, for businesses that are trying to get an idea of how they should be structured – in order to achieve a most efficient corporate hierarchy – we can tell you what we’ve seen in our many years of experience in the world of IT.
Times the CFO Might Step in to Ensure an Efficient Corporate Hierarchy
In many cases, the IT staff reports to the CFO of the company.
This is because it usually costs a lot of money to buy the tools that the IT team works with – from new computers to the software or hardware that outfit all those computers, it’s an expensive endeavor.
So, it makes sense that when the IT staff determines that a company is in need of new or updated software or hardware for everyone’s computers, they report to the CFO about it. Since the CFO is in charge of the financial side of the company, they can determine where the money will be best spent.
Historically with corporate hierarchy, IT departments started out reporting to the CFO of a company because the IT staff was in charge of payroll and billing automation. Thus it made sense to work closely with the CFO.
It has sometimes been argued that the IT staff should report to the CEO of a company instead of the CFO. However, the CFO traditionally has a broader technical background than the CEO, generally having more knowledge about computer software and hardware applications – which are two areas where the IT staff provides support.
When the CEO Could Be the One to Oversee IT in Your Corporate Hierarchy
On the other hand, having your IT staff report to the CEO works better for some companies.
The CEO is in charge of the day to day operations of a business organization, and the IT department is central to a business’s ability to function each day.
In other words, if the computers break down and no work can be done that day to keep the business afloat and thriving, it is up to the IT department to look into the problem and come up with a solution. This part of the job for the IT staff is not so much financial based but instead is a direct influence on how well a company performs for any given day, so it naturally follows that the CEO oversees the IT team.
Why Corporate Hierarchy Structure Ultimately Depends on the Business
At the end of the day, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Who the IT staff reports to should really be determined by what is best for the particular business. Some businesses will do better if the IT department is overseen by the CFO, while other organizations will have a greater chance at thriving when the CEO is in charge of the IT staff.
Some of the factors that go into making the decision are:
- The size of the organization organizing its corporate hierarchy
- How often computers and other technology are used during the course of the workday
- The technical backgrounds and skills the CFO and CEO of the company possess
- What the particular needs are generally found to be for your IT staff
Again, this guide is not to suggest a cookie-cutter approach, as every internal system operates differently. Therefore it is always wise to elicit the help of an organization that has dealt with many different types of scenarios and can customize the experience for your company for optimal results. To keep things running smoothly, the internal structure of your corporate hierarchy is a great place to start – the successes will follow suit once you’ve effectively laid this framework.