Saturday 25 October 2014

Positivity hits five-year high despite concerns over hiring costs

Published 13/08/2014 | 02:30

OPTIMISM among company chief financial officers in Ireland has hit a five-year high, a survey suggests.

Spending Is on the rise and companies believe the 
availability of credit from all sources Is improving, according to the latest Deloitte CFO survey.

But despite the positivity, the men and women who control the finances of some of Ireland's large private 
companies remain cautious about the overall state of 
play in the economy.

While they see unemployment falling and the recovery continuing, just over a half surveyed believe the Government should still plough ahead with plans for a €2bn adjustment in October's Budget.

The headline figure in the survey is that 62pc of Irish CFOs feel more confident about the financial prospects for their company.

This is the highest level of optimism since the survey began five years ago and is up from the 50pc recorded in the first three months of the year.

"The positive sentiment expressed by CFOs is in line with the majority of respondents, who rated the level of external financial and economic uncertainty facing their business as low or normal," said 
Shane Mohan, partner with Deloitte.

"CFOs reported that they are optimistic about their companies' prospects mainly due to external factors - the biggest contributor to driving 
company performance, aside from industry specific demand, is economic growth 
both at home and abroad."

The survey was carried out in June and July among CFOs working for large, listed private companies as well as subsidiaries of multinationals.

A large majority believe revenues will increase over the next year, while both capital and current expenditure is on the rise.

But costs remain a concern, particularly when it comes to hiring new staff.

Two out of three CFOs believe employee numbers will increase over the next 12 months.

However 70pc of CFO respondents believe that talent costs will impede their company's performance over the next year, while 57pc believe talent availability will have a negative impact on performance.

Other key findings include:

  • Just under two thirds (62pc) feel it is a good time to take greater risk onto their company's balance sheet, compared with 29pc in the same period last year.
  • Credit is becoming more available, the study suggests.
  • A total of 33pc of respondents believe credit is easily available from overseas banks, compared to a net 18pc who believed it was hard to get in the first quarter of the year.
  • More generally, 79pc of 
respondents expect exports to increase over the next 12 months, 75pc expect GDP to increase and 72pc expect FDI to increase.
  • Just over a quarter of respondents - 28pc - believe European Central Bank rates will further decrease.

Irish Independent

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