Is there a conflict between CIO, CFO roles?

CIOs and chief financial officers too often are stepping on each other's toes when it comes to responsibilities, and at least one financial manager would like to see the roles clarified.

Samuel Mok, Labor Department CFO, said the duties outlined in the Clinger-Cohen and CFO acts conflict and can be confusing to agency officials. The roles need to be better coordinated, he said.

'The CFO always has felt that they had the lead on the top financial policy-making decisions in an agency, but now they must share it with CIOs and others,' Mok said recently at a luncheon sponsored by the Association for Federal Information Resources Managers in Washington. 'Historically, we've looked at IT as a type of service, but now they are equal and that may be hard to accept by some CFOs.'

One example of this confusion, Mok said, is that the Clinger-Cohen Act requires CIOs to be in charge of all IT systems, but the CFO Act requires financial managers to run all financial systems.

'Who makes the final call on building and managing agency financial systems?' Mok asked. 'Each agency handles it differently, and it is dangerous not to clarify it. It can lead to project failings.'

Mok said he was unsure who needs to clarify it'Congress, OMB, the agency secretary or even a professional forum.

Mike Sade, chief acquisition officer for the Commerce Department, said it is important for acquisition, technology and finance managers to understand at least some of what the other two functions are, or a project will not succeed.

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