“CFO Signals” Report – Excerpts

Recently Deloitte released their “CFO Signals” “High-Level Summary” report for the 2nd Quarter of 2014.

As seen in page 2 of the report, “One hundred and thirteen CFOs responded during the two-week period ending May 23. Seventy-one percent of respondents are from public companies, and 81% are from companies with more than $1B in annual revenue. For more information, please see the “About the survey” section of this report.”

Here are some of the excerpts that I found notable:

from page 3:

Which external factors will substantially drive and/or impede your 
company’s performance over the next year? The North American economy,
industry factors, and technology advancements repeat as the top tailwinds. Policy,
regulation, and talent costs are the top impediments.

How do you regard the current and future status of the North American, 
Chinese, and European economies? Views of North America declined slightly
with 40% now describing conditions as good (42% last quarter), and 60%
expecting better conditions in a year (62% last quarter). Twenty-four percent
regard China’s economy as good (well below last quarter’s 37%), and just 21%
expect improvement (33% in 1Q14). Just 7% now describe Europe as good, and
only 27% see it improving over the next year.

What is your company’s business focus for the next year? CFOs still indicate
a bias toward “pursuing opportunity” over “limiting risk,” and growth is again biased
toward new offerings and existing geographies.

Compared to the past 12 months, how do you expect your key operating 
metrics to change over the next 12 months?* Sales growth expectations rose
significantly from last quarter’s 4.6% to 6.1% this quarter. Overall, earnings
expectations bounced back from a survey-low 7.9% last quarter to 8.9% this
quarter, but expectations declined among U.S. CFOs. Capital spending rose
slightly to 6.8%, but U.S. CFOs’ expectations declined from last quarter. Domestic
hiring expectations rebounded from last quarter’s 1.0% to 1.6%.

How does your optimism regarding your company’s prospects compare to 
last quarter? Coming off of five straight net-positive quarters, net optimism held
steady this quarter at +26. Sentiment declined substantially, however, for
Manufacturing CFOs.

Overall, what external or internal risk worries you the most? Worries about
economic health and government policy are still common, but industry- and
company-level concerns ramped up steeply this quarter.

from page 13:

Domestic hiring expectations rebounded from last quarter’s 1.0% to 1.6%
this quarter. The median rose to 1.0%, and 58% of CFOs now expect
year-over-year gains—well above last quarter’s 42% and the highest
level we have seen in two years. Just 16% expect cuts (comparatively
low). Variability of expectations matches the lowest levels in the survey’s

Among the various charts and graphics in the report are graphics depicting trends in “Own Company Optimism” and “Economic Optimism” found on page 6.


StratX, LLC offers the above commentary for informational purposes only, and does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these outside parties.


StratX, LLC is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future weak(ening) economic conditions, and offers businesses and other entities advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to optimally adapt to such challenging, complex conditions.