European CFO Survey: Autumn 2021
As 2021 draws to a close, and with the number of COVID-19 cases still high, how do Europe’s CFOs see the prospects for the economy and their businesses in the year ahead? What are their intentions for capital spending and hiring? How concerned are they about supply shortages and rising inflation?
CFOs across Europe share their views in the fourteenth edition of Deloitte’s twice-yearly European CFO Survey. They largely retain the positive outlook they had in the spring though the level of optimism has softened a little and varies greatly between sectors. Confidence is weaker outside the euro zone, especially in the UK.
Overall, however, CFOs see an economy that is continuing to grow as the influence of COVID-19 wanes. They plan to increase their capital spending and hiring. But supply chain problems, a shortage of skilled labour and the fast rise in inflation worry them.
After a traumatic 18 months, economic prospects continue to look up, with COVID-19 less of an obstacle. Demand for goods and services is surging and Europe’s CFOs are generally confident and hastening to invest and hire.
But along with the surge in demand has come a less welcome surge in supply-chain problems and inflation. These and labour shortages are hindering CFOs’ efforts to respond to the economic recovery and adding to costs, so that expectations for operating margins are declining.
How the supply-side problems and inflation unfold in 2022 are a big uncertainty for the future. But for the time being CFOs are confident about demand and revenues, and their strategic orientation remains expansionary.
Read the full report to understand the economic prospects for Europe through the eyes of leading CFOs.
Since 2015 Deloitte has conducted the European CFO survey, giving voice twice a year to senior financial executives from across Europe. The data for the Autumn 2021 edition were collected in September 2021 and garnered responses from 1,330 CFOs in 17 countries and across a wide range of industries.