The CFO Alliance is a network that connects CFOs from across the United States and helps these leaders share knowledge and insight on the ins and outs of the profession. One of the things that the CFO Alliance does every year is survey a variety of different CFOs in varying professions through the Annual CFO Sentiment and Planning Study.This study is a finger on the live pulse of what CFOs are thinking about when it comes to 2014, so it’s a valuable source of information for CFOs everywhere. Here are some of the study’s most salient findings:
More emphasis on strategy. A whopping 79% of surveyed CFOs report that their role within their companies will change greatly as compared to 2013. Many believe that their position will involve more attention to corporate direction, strategy, and upping long-term shareholder values. They also believe they will encounter increased operational responsibility.
The customer will be the main focus. Doesn’t sound like news, but more than half of CFOs surveyed say they will work to drive growth by becoming more responsive to customers, and by focusing more energy on meeting or exceeding customer expectations.
More emphasis on attracting the right human capital. 66% of CFOs plan on increasing wages and benefits – this is up from 57% who answered the same in 2013.
It’s about the economy. 44% of all surveyed CFOs report that they believe the number one political/global factor that will influence 2014 business strategy (and ultimately, budgets) is the economy. With things still shaky, the ultimate influence remains to be seen. However, there is a minority (21%) of CFOs who believe that the Affordable Care Act will be the biggest political factor that will affect company budgets.
Ultimately, it’s optimistic. Somewhat quixotically, even though 70% of surveyed CFOs expressed a pessimistic outlook for the economy, a whopping 75% say they anticipate higher revenue on the top line, and 64% say that their margins will increase in 2014.
Despite overall pessimistic views on the economy, surveyed CFOs seem confident in their ability to generate change and strategy, and to ultimately fuel growth in the upcoming year. You can view an executive summary of the Annual CFO Sentiment and Planning Study here.