CFOs optimistic despite political shifts and upcoming elections

Chief financial officers (CFOs) across Europe are optimistic about their organisations’ futures despite recent political changes and upcoming elections, according to a new report.

A study by Deloitte found that 55 per cent of finance bosses believe uncertainty is higher than usual, compared to 64 per cent who reported elevated uncertainty last year.

The report showed that outlooks are growing more optimistic than in recent months.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the UK, where optimism increased by 45pp even though 85 per cent said there was elevated uncertainty ahead of the nation’s departure from the European Union. 15 per cent said there was normal uncertainty and none said that it was low.

31 per cent of British finance chiefs said they are more optimistic about their companies’ financial prospects than they were three months ago, while 52 per cent said their outlooks stayed the same.

As an overall average, when asked whether they thought further member states would leave the EU, the European CFOs said there was a 33 per cent chance of further exits.

Most of those surveyed said a further break-up of the union was unlikely, but 81 per cent said further integration with Europe was needed and only seven per cent believe the status quo is sustainable.

“Recent political shifts and upcoming elections across the region have led to uncertainty among CFOs,” wrote Alan Flanagan, partner and EMEA CFO programme lead at Deloitte.

“Yet the data presented in this report shows encouraging evidence of their heightened optimism and increased risk appetite in organisations across Europe.”

The report’s authors said this shift has led to a more positive view of expansion among CFOs, with shifts towards strategies like capital expenditure and hiring, as well as an uptick in optimism when it comes to organisations’ revenues and margins.

For the full report, see the Deloitte website.

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