Interdepartmental collaboration is becoming more common in the digital era, with project teams often coming from several departments. However, problems still arise as each department makes its case. Let's take the example of a new piece of internal software. For someone working in IT, the objectives will be mainly related to programming and design. Once compiled, they will then approach the finance team, who must translate those objectives into a cost.
At this stage, communication can break down. The type of financial document a programmer would draft might poorly represent the reality of what's involved, misusing terms and under (or over) estimating profit/ margins. Similarly, a financial expert who requests a software solution may not realise the complexity of the work involved for the IT team.
Several times a year, the Irish Computer Society runs its 'Finance for IT Professionals' course, aimed at IT professionals who seek a better understanding of financial matters. The course is designed to bridge the knowledge gap between IT and finance, allowing for more effective communication and greater collaboration on projects. It will help you identify the needs that finance have so you can try to address them collaboratively. It will give those working in IT the knowledge to make the best possible business case for a new product from a financial perspective. If you are the IT manager, you will be able to contribute far more effectively in business development meetings, using financial data to justify your requirements. You will, in other words, learn the "language of finance".
Course content is modular, focusing on core financial concepts and terminology with the use of industry examples and exercises to reinforce key points. This improves understanding of abstract concepts by grounding them in physical statements, real companies and stories surrounding the data. If you have not encountered financial terms before, course notes will include a comprehensive glossary to provide clarification.
Although the course does not directly deal with strategies to integrate the processes of finance and IT, it will provide a solid foundation to do so. Through an in-depth understanding of the processes that underlie how finance and IT interact, you will be able to standardise and simplify how your business operates, driving value in the long term. This will facilitate collaboration between teams, which may in turn lead to the development of an integrated system which supports both departments.
Course content is delivered by Cormac Lucey, a highly acclaimed and experienced finance professional. He is a qualified chartered accountant and has developed and currently presents several other finance programmes in Chartered Accountants Ireland, the Irish Management Institute and the Michael Smurfit Graduate School.
More information on the course can be found on the Finance for IT Professionals event page.