November 5, 2013; Associations Now
The accounting firm of Tate & Tyron has done a small survey of nonprofit leaders that finds that the IT departments of most nonprofits do not report to the executive, instead being held within operations or finance departments. In fact, only 13 percent report to the CEO, while 38 percent report to the CFO or COO. This finding differs from an ASAE 2011 report, Benchmarking in Association Management: Technology Policies and Procedures, which found that in 41 percent of the 1000 associations they surveyed, the highest-ranking IT staff reported to the CEO, twenty-seven percent reported to the COO, and 23 percent reported to the CFO.
NPQ is frankly surprised at these findings, and we find them shortsighted.
Thad Lurie, a managing director of technology consulting services at Old Town IT, writes, “It’s time for CEOs and executive directors, if they haven’t already, to ask themselves why putting IT under finance makes any more sense than putting finance under IT.”
Lurie continues, “Finance executives are generally not hired to be thought leaders in the innovation and product-development areas. By placing the IT department under finance, the message is loud and clear: Technology is purely an operational concern, and the main focus of technology is cost cutting.”—Ruth McCambridge