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CFO Sentiment Report | Edition 16

Navigating the economic headwinds

The 16th edition of CFO Sentiment paints an intricate picture of Australia’s current business landscape through the eyes of its financial leaders.  

Featuring insights from a comprehensive survey of senior finance executives, this report captures their state of mind and reveals the most influential trends in the second half of 2023.

Our latest findings show that while CFOs are pessimistic about Australia’s economic outlook, they remain net optimists on their own business prospects. Understandably, caution is king as risk appetites fall to record lows. 

Inflation and interest rates are now front of mind, overshadowing the talent concerns that dominated agendas in recent surveys. These external pressures are driving CFOs back to basics, with cost control the top priority as intentions soften around capital expenditure and headcount.  

Despite the economic gloom, opportunities remain. Proactive CFOs can capitalise on generative AI and innovation in financial reporting, where bold moves could give leaders an edge over the dawdling majority. 

Explore the graphics below for highlights from this edition and download the report for our full analysis. 

The economic gloom is testing CFOs’ natural optimism in the financial prospects of their own  business. 

However, net optimism (optimists less pessimists) remains at 27% – significantly more positive than views on Australia’s economic outlook (-31%).

External factors are now top  of the risk register for CFOs, with inflation and interest rate movements front of mind.

Talent concerns remain, but a significant dip from six months ago suggests the labour market is cooling. 

CFOs understand the disruptive capabilities of generative AI, particularly in the finance function.

 Through a sector lens, 70% of CFOs in technology, media and telecommunications (TMT)  believe it will transform their industry within the next two years, compared to just 6% in energy and resources.

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