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CFO Sentiment | Edition 11

Confidence prevails

Stephen Gustafson
Nicola Alcorn
David Rumbens
Paul Wensor

Confidence prevails

Australian CFO optimism has prevailed again in the first half of 2021, having already bounced back earlier this year from the severe COVID-induced shocks of 2020.

According to Australian CFOs, confidence is up nine percentage points, to 84%, compared to six months ago, but the nation’s finance leaders clearly still have one eye very firmly on the country’s latest COVID challenges.

Key report points (the survey was conducted during the July Sydney and Melbourne lockdowns) include:

  • 84% of CFOs are feeling optimistic about the financial prospects of their company
  • 66% think now is a good time to be taking on increased balance sheet risk
  • 72% report the Australian economy as having a positive impact on their optimism levels
  • 76% rate the current COVID environment as driving above normal, high or very high levels of uncertainty
  • 78% list securing and retaining key talent as a top three risk – an issue well outside the top risks six months ago
  • 72% see ESG, including climate change, as an important consideration across different parts of their business, and when it comes to investor engagement.

Deloitte partner, and CFO Program leader, Stephen Gustafson, said: “These findings are particularly encouraging, with strong business confidence such an important driver of Australia’s COVID recovery. That our survey was conducted in July, in the midst of Delta-induced lockdowns, is testament to CFOs’ resilience and positivity.

“Now in the second half of 2021, and with COVID posing more challenges than most of us hoped for, the strong economic momentum from earlier this year is hanging on. It may take a shutdown-induced hit, but it’s the remarkable ability of the Australian economy to bounce back six months ago that appears to be driving CFO confidence.”

How do you feel about the financial prospects of your company going forward?
Risks of most concern to CFOs over the next 12 months, internal and external (% of CFOs)
Is this a good time to be taking greater risk on your balance sheet? (Share of CFOs responding yes)
In your opinion, how important are ESG, including climate change considerations in the context of the following:
What is your current position on new ways of working post COVID-19?
What is the top driver of your investment in cloud technology?

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