Grumpy IT Guy: Finance Wars - InformationWeek

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9/26/2014
09:06 AM
Grumpy IT Guy
Grumpy IT Guy
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Grumpy IT Guy: Finance Wars

Finance gets mad that we moved their printer and starts acting out. I may ask them to manage virtual machines if they don't start doing their own work.

IT Dress Code: 10 Cardinal Sins
IT Dress Code: 10 Cardinal Sins
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Grumpy IT guy here. Know what's got me riled today? Finance! I don't see them trying to get HR or other departments to do their work for them. So why do they try to get IT to do their work?

Finance is on a slow boil here, and something's gotta give. Not so long ago, we moved their check printer out of the data center. Put it in the Finance area, d'oh! Data center printers are for mainframes! Used to be a line printer; hasn't been for a decade. So why keep it in the data center? Welcome to the 21st century.

Did they say, "Good job, IT?" Or even, "We understand why you're doing this?" Or possibly, "Wondered why it took so long, it was a good (check) run while it lasted?"

No! Instead, World War 3 erupted.

Now Finance is putting in work requests for analysts to run reports. Seriously. Run reports? Next on my agenda: Hire a mainframe operator. And maybe get a bunch of those hamster wheels to power the data center. Run reports for you? Go away! Here's a time machine -- 1975 called, and they want their batch processing back.

And now Finance can't figure out where some money is in the accounting system. So they put in a work request for that. Last time I checked, we were not accountants. Hire an accountant! So then Finance complains to CEO that IT is not being responsive. Yeah, that's right, we're not responsive… to accounting requests!

Tell you what: I will log a request with Finance that we need to hire an accountant. In IT.

[Last week's gripe: the pitch that wouldn't die. Read Tech Sales Reps Gone Wild.]

I have a bad feeling about our ERP replacement project.

One of the first things to do: chart of accounts. Vendor requests that Finance produce a chart of accounts, kind of taxonomy for accounting codes. Request from vendor lands on IT analyst's desk, along with a sticky note from Finance division manager: "Please handle."

Please handle? How about we put a sticky note on your desk about virtual machines and load balancer needed for new system: "Please handle." Maybe Finance can set up the VPN for the vendor, too.

Problem: IT is project-managing the ERP upgrade. Finance could care less: "It's an IT project." Kind of like moms cooking dinner for kids is "a mom project." It is not looking good. Finance staff like deer in the headlights during design meetings with vendor. They ask IT staff to make decisions that should be made by Finance. My staff coming to me saying, "I'm not really comfortable making accounting decisions."

Deadlines being missed... check. Blamestorming of IT... begin!

I don't get it. Why can't Finance just … do their job? No other department acts this entitled. No other department thinks that IT means "do your job for you." No other department seems to invest so little but expect so much.

Memo to Finance: Do your job!

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Grumpy IT Guy avoided historic disasters and clueless people while working his way up the IT ranks, but he retained his keen sense of humor. He now leads an IT organization somewhere in America, as part of the FBI's Grump Protection Program. Need advice? Send questions to ... View Full Bio
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asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
9/28/2014 | 8:36:27 PM
Seriously?
Maybe next task Finance can request is for IT to go pick up their dry cleaning and lattes on the way into work.
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
9/26/2014 | 7:23:47 PM
appreciate

This article makes me appreciate were I work. We implemented an ERP system and I was on the team but operations and accounting ran the show.

kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
9/26/2014 | 6:30:41 PM
Could be flattering
You could always view it as a compliment. When the finance guys can't figure it out they figure the IT guys can.

That said some departments just need more hand holding than others, the big thing is to slowly wean them from it so they can run their own reports. Are you doing anything to help them understand the software so they can?
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
9/26/2014 | 4:11:12 PM
Re: Hmmmm?
We should hold our own IT Festivus celebration and have an airing of grievances! Great idea @TerryB
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
9/26/2014 | 3:52:22 PM
Re: Hmmmm?
Accounting are among my better people here. I have some users who think I'm supposed to know what their password is. Others who can't remember where the menu option is to run the program they want to run. Others who want me change some data for them because they can't find the person who is supposed to do it.

When auditors come, accounting is always requesting help with ad hoc inquiries. His example of CoA listing: I'm sure BPCS ERP system has such a print report but they would ask me. My query tool so easy, it would literally take me a minute to do that.

I've always considered that as what happens when you work at small company. It has it's benefits though, you stay in the loop and you build relationships. But if I had a grumpy nature.....

Remember the Seinfeld Festivus episode, the airing of grievances? I'd have a lot of problems with those people!  :-)

But the check printer issue was interesting, there is more involved there than location of printer itself. But that's just me, no one probably cares, wasn't point of article.

Keep it up, I enjoy what you are trying to do with this.

 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
9/26/2014 | 3:37:07 PM
Re: Hmmmm?
@TerryB we have asked Grumpy IT guy to let it rip when it comes to things that drive IT people crazy. But yes he is certainly bringing his sense of humor along for the ride. Have you been stuck with work you thought was financial's responsibility?
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
9/26/2014 | 1:46:27 PM
Hmmmm?
I like the premise of what you are trying to do by writing under an alias. I loved the Coverlet Meshing articles that were done for awhile, I miss those.

But Coverlet wrote about bigger picture stuff we could relate to. The couple of articles you have written so far are so locally oriented we don't have context (as readers) to know what is going on. Is Finance really that bad there or is your IT stuck in "Glass House" mode?

For example, did they ask for report on CoA because:

1)  There is no report to list that out already written.

2) You have nice ad hoc query tool but they don't know which file is CoA master?

3)  They are just too lazy to run the report.

On the check printer, was printer in server room to also protect the check stock itself, or some other element of the security to control access to printing A/P checks? Here, any printer which does 8x11 printing can print checks but check stock is locked up and in control of only Accounting. So even though as programmer/analyst I know how to reprint checks, I could never get our check stock to do it. I like being protected like that, don't want anyone accusing me of fraud.

As far as ERP goes, that is a pretty common story. You are right the users should own it but they never do. Systems analysts from IT are invaluable on this to keep things moving. Are you saying your IT people really don't know your business systems enough to assist these people?

Maybe I'm looking at these articles too seriously, that this is all tongue in cheek?
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