In Loraine Lawson’s post “CFO Resigns After ‘Data Integration Glitch’” she reports that TUI Travel CFO Paul Bowtell resigned last week after the company announced it had overstated revenues. Loraine states that the press release and the UK articles all note this problem was “the accounting error in the integration of IT systems in its UK mainstream business”.
When Loraine tweeted the link to the article she asked “This company does have a CIO…Wonder how he got off?” I think the answer is simple and much more than honor which is listed in the blog post.
I do not have any additional information beyond Loraine’s post, but I believe the reason the CFO resigned is because “the CFO” is the answer to the question “who is responsible?”
Yes, the data was flawed. Yes, the systems were implemented by IT and the CIO was the data custodian. But, ensuring that financial data is accurate is the responsibility of the CFO. In this case the data may not have been stewarded, but the CFO is taking responsibility like a data steward.
If every business on the planet internalizes this lesson, stewardship may finally be noticed as a business priority. The information environment (and the application portfolio) have been ignored for too long. Businesspeople must become reacquainted with their stewardship responsibilities for the enabling technology environment, and IT departments must help them repatriate stewardship into the business.