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How to Impress Your CFO

CFOsGetting a CFO to agree to energy efficiency projects is not as easy as just “showing him the money,” as two recent commentaries attest.

As Susan Clarke from Verdantix writes in the latest issue of EL Analysts, business benefits can be hard to quantify because of the many uncertainties involved, such as the future of energy prices, supply and regulations. The lack of bankable benefits means CFOs are often unimpressed by projected savings from energy management initiatives.

There are other strong reasons for CFOs to resist such proposals, as Dave Jaros of Noesis Energy points out on Energy Manager Today. These proposed outlays are often unbudgeted, large capital investments to fix something that doesn’t appear broken – and they often come to the CFO without financing.

To get CFO buy-in, Jaros makes the following recommendations:

  • Use standards-based analysis and historical data, verified by a third party
  • Offer financing options
  • Be prepared to measure and verify the savings

Providers of energy efficiency software, equipment and services also need to step up their game, providing more reliable data and better financing options, if they want to break through to more skeptical CFOs. With only 44 percent of heads of energy expecting their budgets to grow next year, according to a Verdantix survey, those providers have their work cut out for them.

Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.

Picture credit: 401(K) 2012 via flickr

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