Confidence up but uncertainly among CFOs remains high
Just over half of chief financial officers (CFOs) in Ireland say that the overall level of uncertainty facing their business is high, down from 79pc in the first three months of 2017, with levels of financial and economic uncertainty falling.
Unsurprisingly with Brexit on the horizon, CFOs in the UK had the highest reading on perceptions of uncertainty at 85pc, while CFOs in Austria had the lowest.
In addition the survey of over 1,500 CFOs in Europe from Deloitte found Irish CFOs to be the most bullish amongst their European counterparts with regards to capital expenditure, with 58pc of Irish CFOs planning to invest in their business by increasing capital expenditure in order to drive organic growth.
While controlling costs and optimising the balance sheet are identified as top priorities among Irish CFOs, the expansionary strategy of organic growth is the number one priority for them.
In comparison, 42pc of CFOs in Europe plan on increasing capital expenditure in the next 12 months.
As Irish CFOs increase their capital expenditure, over half of Irish respondents (51pc) believe employee numbers will increase in the coming year.
“Here in Ireland, the findings mark a noticeable recovery from some of the shocks to the market in 2016, namely Brexit and the US presidential election.
The identification of geopolitical risks and currency fluctuations amongst the top risks in the minds of the Irish CFOs demonstrates that they are not getting ahead of themselves, but the survey results certainly highlight some stabilisation over the last six months,” Alan Flanagan, partner at Deloitte Ireland and EMEA CFO Programme Lead, said.
In terms of the biggest risks facing companies, Irish CFOs listed geopolitical uncertainty, economic growth/outlook and currency fluctuations as being among the biggest risks to their companies.
Overall confidence among business leaders in Europe has improved in the past six months, with companies outlook for revenue growth, hiring and capital spending all improving.
Optimism is highest in France, with eight in ten CFOs more positive than they were three months ago, while in the Netherlands optimism was lowest with just 23pc more optimistic than three months ago.