4th April 2017.

CFO optimism on the rise

Deloitte’s CFO survey has found that nearly a third of finance chiefs have said they are more optimistic about the prospects for their company than they were three months ago – the highest level since 2015. Brexit continues to top the risk list but with a lower reading than in the past two quarters. Also among the top three risks are weak demand in Britain and the prospect of interest rate rises in the US and the UK. Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, said: “CFOs believe the Brexit headwinds have eased and see far less damage to their spending plans than earlier expected. While most still see Brexit having an adverse effect on the business environment, even here the degree of negativity has fallen.” The survey also revealed that as economic fears have diminished, CFOs appetite for risk has increased, although it remains below long term averages. Just over a quarter of CFOs said they thought now was a good time to take risk on to their balance sheets, up from 21% in the latter part of last year and 8% after the referendum. In comments released alongside the report, David Sproul, chief executive of Deloitte in the UK, said the mobility of people should be as high a priority as trade in Britain’s negotiations to leave the EU. He said: “For many businesses, including our own, access to skills is one of the most pressing issues they face.”

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