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2013 Q3 Results: CFO SignalsTM

Adjusting to a “fits and starts” economic recovery

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Highlights: CFO SignalsTM Q3

Our last CFO Signals survey showed that CFOs were feeling better than they had in a while – especially relative to a year prior. And the good news is that their optimism has largely carried over to this quarter, bucking a trend that typically sees a precipitous drop in the second and/or third quarters.

A key reason for continued optimism is that most companies represented in the survey derive a very large proportion of their earnings from North America, and this region’s economy continues to be the relative bright spot. While North American economies are not strong by historical standards, both their current status and their near-term trajectories compare favorably to European economies that remain near recession and major emerging markets that are facing slower growth.

Those other economies, however, are giving CFOs pause. While Deloitte’s economists hold that global economic conditions are improving, albeit in fits and starts, recent volatility fueled by prospective changes in U.S. monetary policy, a new monetary policy in Japan, instability in China’s banking system, and unfolding events in Syria, has clearly taking its toll: this quarter, CFOs’ expectations for year-over-year sales, earnings, investment, and hiring are among the worst we have seen.

What is a bit different (and perhaps encouraging) this quarter is that a rising number of companies appear focused on reassessing and adapting their strategies, and also on reducing direct costs – suggesting they may be making longer-term strategy adjustments to account for ongoing volatility in a “fits and starts” economic recovery.

What else are CFOs saying? Download the 2013 Q3 CFO Signals report at the top of this page to find out.

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As used in this document, 'Deloitte' means Deloitte LLP [and its subsidiaries]. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

Related links

  • Deloitte CFO Signals™ survey
    Adjusting to a “fits and starts” economic recovery.
  • CFO SignalsTM
    What North America’s CFOs are thinking – and doing.
  • Chief Financial Officer Program
    Bold insights for one of the toughest jobs in the world.
  • CFO Journal
    An online publication from The Wall Street Journal, featuring a regular stream of CFO-centric content and timely features from Deloitte, including insights and analysis, which appear in a separate module.
  • Subscribe to CFO Insights
    Dedicated to addressing the issues that CFOs and finance executives face today.

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