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CFO Sentiment | Edition 12

Resilient in the face of uncertainty

Stephen Gustafson
Nicola Alcorn
David Rumbens
Paul Wensor

Resilient in the face of uncertainty

Australian CFO optimism continues to bounce back from the COVID-induced shocks of 2020, with over 80% of the country’s senior finance executives feeling optimistic about the prospects for their company over the next 12 months.
According to the latest edition of Deloitte’s biannual CFO Sentiment survey, confidence overall is down slightly compared to six months ago, but nearly 25% of CFOs are still feeling highly optimistic as they look to emerge from the COVID-related challenges of the last two years.

Key findings (with the survey conducted in earlier stages of the spread of COVID’s Omicron variant) include:

  • 81% of CFOs are feeling optimistic, or highly optimistic, about the financial prospects of their company
  • The 23% mark for those highly optimistic is the highest recorded since the survey question was first asked in 2017
  • 95% rated uncertainty levels as being higher than normal – an all-time high since the survey began in 2009
  • Net optimism about the financial prospects of their companies going forward is currently a strong 79%
  • 58% think now is a good time to be taking on increased balance sheet risk
  • 74% expect interest rates to rise in 2022
  • 93% believe securing and retaining key talent is one of their key risks for the next 12 months.

Deloitte partner, and CFO Program leader, Stephen Gustafson, said: “In August last year we said that, in the midst of this global pandemic and such uncertain times, positive levels of CFO sentiment, and resilience generally, were really encouraging. Pleasingly, this remains the case.
“Australia might be off to a shaky Omicron-induced start to 2022, meaning uncertainty remains a challenge for all of us, and, perhaps not surprising, nearly all CFOs surveyed believe uncertainty levels are higher than normal.
“But against this backdrop, there’s next to no pessimism around. The fact that nearly 25% of our CFOs are highly optimistic and 58% are optimistic, is such a positive result when the global economic downturn of 2020 caused by COVID hit CFO optimism hard.”

How do you feel about the financial prospects of your company going forward?
What is your perspective towards economic sentiment at the following points in time?
Risks of most concern to CFOs over the next 12 months (internal and external)
Balance sheet risk and uncertainty about economic and financial conditions
Select the top 3 drivers of ESG action in your organisation
Select the top three barriers to ESG efforts in your organisation
Select the description that best describes the status of each of the listed activities in relation to your organisation

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