Advisory firm Grant Thorton recently released the results of its bi-annual survey of CFOs nationwide. 912 CFOs and comptrollers responded to the questions, which ranged from the state of the economy to increases and changes in regulation. Here’s what you need to know.
Economic Uncertainty Reigns Supreme
More than half (55%) of CFOs think economic uncertainty is a concern that could affect their businesses’ growth in the next 12 months. This apprehension is in spite of the fact that nearly half of CFOs expect the U.S. economy to remain unchanged, and 43% expect improvement in the next 12 months.
Congressional Dysfunction Will Hinder Growth
CFOs are particularly frustrated over a bill to extend over 50 tax revisions that expired at the end of 2014. Eyes are also fixed on the U.S. Federal Reserve, which has given mixed signals on whether or not it will raise interest rates this September. While the labor market seems to have stabilized, inflation rates are still low.
Cybersecurity remains a big concern for CFOs. Even in light of the larger breaches garnering media attention this year, 57% of those surveyed said undetected breaches worry them most. Public companies were more likely to say they feared loss of reputation risk over private companies.
Nearly half of CFOs reported they worry about the increasing cost of federal regulations. Government compliance was the largest reported growth challenge. Of those surveyed, 31% said they feared they won’t be able to keep up with these expanding regulations.
Riskier Growth Strategies
An overwhelming margin (80%) of CFOs reported they were adverse to riskier growth strategies and that they would pursue growth in existing markets. They also reported that the enthusiasm surrounding mergers and acquisitions might be fading.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. Nearly half of CFOs reported that they expect new hiring to increase in the next six months. Additionally, 70% reported they’re actively working to find and retain new talent, and 2/3 planned on increasing salaries in the next year.
Grant Thorton publicized its findings with an infographic. It performs the survey twice annually.