CFO Signals™ Survey: Optimism worldwide slightly rebounds from historic lows, but will 2013 leave CFOs in a holding pattern?
New York, 20 February 2013 – CFO optimism has rebounded from historic lows in many countries as several political and economic “uncertainties” have been resolved or eased, according to Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s (DTTL) Q4 Global CFO Signals™ survey. However, many chief financial officers (CFOs) worldwide remain cautious in resuming aggressive capital spending and are adopting a “wait-and-see” approach that will likely yield a slow global recovery process.
“It’s no surprise that CFOs are still reacting to global economic volatility with caution and continued cost cutting,” said Sanford Cockrell III, Leader, Global CFO Program, DTTL. “But given the temporary resolution of the fiscal cliff in the United States and the easing of the euro crisis, our survey found that some finance executives are carefully preparing for growth and hoping greater regulatory clarity will give them the comfort to invest.”
Additionally, although the CFO survey revealed a mixed recovery approach by region, CFOs across the board had three major considerations they are factoring in their outlooks: growth, talent capabilities, and implications of local policies and regulations:
There was no clear indication as to when CFOs expect conditions to improve. In Spain, 98 percent of CFOs surveyed believe there will not be an improvement in economic indicators before the second half of 2013, and, of these, 29 percent do not expect it before the first half of 2015. In Belgium and Ireland, CFOs are looking more toward 2014 for economic recovery. And in several of the Central European countries, CFOs believe things will get worse before they get better.
Many CFOs are focusing their recovery on efforts close to home. In the Middle East, the 30 percent of CFOs who are planning mergers & acquisitions (M&A) are aiming for targets aligned to existing businesses and within the MENA region. Similarly, in South Africa, more than half the companies surveyed are now focused on revenue growth from emerging markets and Africa.
DTTL’s Q4 Signals survey tracked the thinking and actions of CFOs from more than 1100 global companies representing some 30 countries and geographies including North America, the Middle East, South Africa, Australia, and several European countries.
Twenty-four Deloitte member firm CFO surveys, covering 38 countries, are conducted by Deloitte member firms on a quarterly, biannual, or annual basis. The objective of these surveys is to collect CFOs’ opinions on a range of areas including economic outlook, financial markets, business trends, their organizations, and CFO careers. The focus and timing of each member firm’s survey varies.
The Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) Global Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Program is a CFO-centric strategic initiative that brings together a multidisciplinary team of senior Deloitte member firm partners and experienced professionals to help CFOs effectively address the different challenges and demands they experience in their role. The DTTL Global CFO Program and network of Deloitte member firms harness the breadth of Deloitte member firms’ capabilities to deliver forward thinking perspectives and fresh insights to help CFOs manage the complexities of their role, drive more value in their organization, and adapt to the changing strategic shifts in the market. For more information about the DTTL Global CFO Program, please contact email@example.com or visit www.deloitte.com/cfoconnect.
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.
Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte has in the region of 200,000 professionals, all committed to becoming the standard of excellence.