Why we’re not surprised CFOs are optimistic

Adrian O'Connor - October 31 2017

CFOs optimistic

Consumer spending is down, inflation is up and it looks increasingly likely that the UK may exit the EU with ‘no deal’, yet confidence among chief financial officers has rebounded from a low point after the election. CFOs are optimistic – and we’re not surprised.

Uncertainty down

According to Deloitte’s latest CFO Survey, 27% of respondents say they are more optimistic about the prospects for their company than they were three months ago, up from 18% in Q2. The number of finance chiefs claiming that the level of uncertainty facing their business is ‘high’, meanwhile, has dropped from almost half (42%) to just a third (34%).

Last month we outlined the top five skills for future CFOs – and number two on the list was adaptability. Finance professionals who can challenge a changeable business environment head on, and come out fighting, are an invaluable asset for any business. The clients we work with seek accounting professionals who can demonstrate that they use initiative to help their business flourish, regardless of economic conditions.

A stronger footing

Yes, Brexit continues to be seen as the number one risk factor. But savvy finance heads are planning accordingly to minimise disruption. Deloitte’s data, for example, found that reducing costs remains the top priority, with 41% citing this as a key focus.

We recently highlighted that, although business capital spending remains flat, this is representative of finance chiefs deciding to postpone investment while they ride out this period of uncertainty, rather than being indicative of businesses running out of cash. And it seems that those who battened down the hatches to weather the storm are already beginning to emerge on a stronger footing.

CFOs optimistic

Deloitte’s figures show that 22% of CFOs say they expect businesses to increase capital spending in the coming 12 months, up from 14% last quarter. The future may be uncertain, but thanks to shrewd senior accounting professionals, businesses are confident that they can ride the wave.

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