Sunday 15 September 2019

CFOs report high uncertainty amid Brexit and trade turmoil

On a European level, with Brexit fast approaching, CFOs in the UK have the highest reading on perceptions of uncertainty, with nine in 10 reporting high uncertainty. Stock photo: PA Wire/PA Images
On a European level, with Brexit fast approaching, CFOs in the UK have the highest reading on perceptions of uncertainty, with nine in 10 reporting high uncertainty. Stock photo: PA Wire/PA Images

The majority of chief financial officers in Irish firms are reporting a high level of external financial and economic uncertainty.

In addition, the number expecting to achieve revenue growth over the next 12 months has now declined to 74pc from 84pc in the first half of this year, according to a survey from consulting group Deloitte.

Daniel Gaffney, partner at Deloitte Ireland, said that CFOs are getting increasingly worried about the current levels of uncertainty.

"It is being driven by a number of factors including uncertainty around Brexit and global trade tensions," Mr Gaffney said.

"This has made CFOs more cautious with a greater proportion of focus going on internal development as opposed to M&A."

The survey also found the issue of cost reductions and a shortage of skilled professionals to be among the more significant risks in the minds of the 50-plus Irish CFOs who were surveyed, with just over one in four saying that they would increase automation by a large extent to address skills shortages.

On a European level, with Brexit fast approaching, CFOs in the UK have the highest reading on perceptions of uncertainty, with nine in 10 reporting high uncertainty.

At the other end of the scale CFOs in Sweden had the lowest, with just 14pc reporting high uncertainty.

In 13 of the 20 countries surveyed, including Ireland, CFOs cite more expansionary balance sheet measures as priorities as opposed to defensive measures.

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