CFOS are increasingly optimistic about the economy in the US and abroad, with 90 percent of those surveyed ranking conditions as good, up from 74 percent last quarter, according to Deloitte’s 2018 Q1 CFO Signals survey.
“The passage of tax reform and government spending bills in the US appears to have further bolstered confidence — with growth expectations for revenue, earnings, capex, and hiring all rising to multi-year highs and CFOs’ optimism about their companies’ prospects hitting its highest-ever level,” the report’s summary states.
“It’s truly far and wide the most optimistic we’ve ever seen,” Sandy Cockrell, national managing partner and global leader of Deloitte’s CFO Program, tells Financial Executives International.
Most CFOs — 93 percent — are investing tax savings in core business functions, Cockrell says.
Other key findings in the report include:
- CFOs are very concerned about their ability to attract and retain key talent.
- 31 percent expect to increase hiring and 38 percent expect to raise wages, particularly in the services sector.
- As technology automates routine functions, the role of CFOs is shifting from number crunchers to tech-savvy strategists and catalysts in their organizations.
“As a result, executives are placing a higher premium on essential human skills such as complex problem solving (63 percent), cognitive abilities (55 percent), and social skills (52 percent),” Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report finds.
“These will be key skill sets going forward,” Cockrell says.
The shift in roles of CFOS is something Michael E. Gerber and I note our upcoming book, “The E-Myth Chief Financial Officer”:
“Now, in addition to accounting and basic financial management, CFOs are required to be integral members of the strategic planning team and experts in processes, product development, sales strategies, technology resources, human resources, and risk management. They are expected to know the answer to just about any question the CEO/owner might ask about business performance and should be able to communicate effectively with the company’s owners, lenders, vendors, and other stakeholders.”
If you are the owner of your own small business acting as your own CFO, you need to be able to answer these questions for yourself. As Michael Gerber says, “The key to transforming your company — and your life — is to grasp the profound difference between going to work ON your company (systems thinker) and going to work IN your company (tactical thinker).”
Are you optimistic about economic prospects? Are you planning to invest tax savings in your core business functions, and if so, where?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. And, if you are looking for ways to adopt a financial planning and analysis mindset through your organization, stay tuned.