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Reflective Learning


You work for a small manufacturing firm that is struggling to modernize and become more competitive in the global marketplace. Recently, your firm hired a new executive team, including a new CFO.  You’ve determined that the CFO is the key decision-maker on the project approval board.

Your business case evaluates four options for modernizing a key software system:

  • Option 1 – Purchasing Software Package A for a one-time fee
  • Option 2 – Converting to Software Package B, which has a yearly subscription fee
  • Option 3 – Developing the software in-house
  • Option 4 – Status quo (do nothing)

In your Executive Summary and board presentation, which points would you emphasize in order to increase the likelihood that the board will approve your project?

  1. Company brand and image, globalization support, and employee retention
  2. Cash flow, return on investment, and productivity
  3. Organizational stress due to change, payback period, and perceived quality
  4. Purchasing & acquisition fees, training needs, and HR impacts

You Answered: A
Correct Answer: B

CFOs will most likely zero in on financial aspects of the business case first.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t highlight other items in your full business case, but they are not the best things to “lead” with when you make a presentation to a financial executive.