Resilient in the face of uncertainty

Optimism among Australian CFOs continues to rebound from the COVID-induced shocks of 2020, with over 80% of the country’s senior finance executives feeling optimistic about their company’s prospects over the next 12 months.

According to the latest edition of Deloitte’s semi-annual publication CFO Sentiment survey, overall confidence is down slightly from six months ago, but nearly 25% of CFOs still feel very optimistic as they seek to emerge from the COVID-related challenges of the past two years.

Key findings (along with the investigation conducted in the early stages of the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID) include:

  • 81% of CFOs feel optimistic, or very optimistic, about their company’s financial outlook
  • The 23% mark for very optimistic people is the highest on record since the survey question was first asked in 2017
  • 95% rated levels of uncertainty as above normal – a record high since the survey began in 2009
  • Net optimism about the financial prospects of their businesses in the future is currently at 79%
  • 58% think now is the time to take more risk on the balance sheet
  • 74% expect interest rates to rise in 2022
  • 93% believe securing and retaining key talent is one of their top risks for the next 12 months.

Deloitte Partner and Head of the CFO Program, Stephen Gustafson, said: “In August last year, we said that amid this global pandemic and uncertain times, the positive levels of CFO sentiment and overall resilience were truly encouraging. Fortunately, this remains the case.

“Australia could experience a fragile Omicron-induced start to 2022, which means uncertainty remains a challenge for all of us, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, almost all CFOs surveyed believe that levels of uncertainty are higher than normal.

“But in this context, there is hardly any pessimism. The fact that nearly 25% of our CFOs are very optimistic and 58% are optimistic is such a positive result as the 2020 global economic downturn caused by COVID has hit CFO optimism hard. »

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