Article

2013 Q2 – CFO Survey

Call for action

CFO confidence has gone up slightly in the second quarter but remains low and below the long-term average. The environment in which businesses operate is improving, but looking forward, 88% of CFOs do not expect the Belgian economy to recover still this year, while 27% of respondents do not even anticipate an uptake before 2015. Cost reduction and efficiency improvements remain the dominant themes.

“The key challenge for CFOs today is how to identify and exploit growth opportunities. As long as there is no edging away from cost reduction and other defensive strategies alone, expansionary strategies will remain weak and the future competitive position of our businesses might be jeopardised.”

 

Thierry Van Schoubroeck, Managing Partner Consulting

Summary

Call for action

CFOs continue to worry about the timing and pace of the economic recovery and the competitiveness of their businesses in today’s global economy. The environment in which businesses are operating is improving, yet CFOs are cautious in planning for growth. Finance is available for those wanting to expand, but CFOs face difficulties to identify and exploit opportunities.

Half of CFOs report their businesses have not made the anticipated second quarter financial budget, and will not be able to make up the gap in the second half of the year. Companies that generate most of their turnover in Belgium realized a better performance to budget than those that have a more international business focus.

CFOs are very critical on the impact of government policy: the vast majority of CFOs report current policies are inappropriate and not contributing to the long-term success of businesses in Belgium.

2013 Q2 Belgian CFO Survey – Call for action

Highlights

2013 Q2 key points

  • CFO confidence remains low and below the long-term average. CFOs are most worried about the timing and pace of the economic recovery, the competitiveness of their own businesses in the global economy and the impact of new regulation and government policy.
  • Half of CFOs report their businesses have not made the anticipated second quarter financial budget, and will not be able to make up the gap in the second half of the year. Companies that generate most of their turnover in Belgium realized a better performance to budget than those that have a more international business focus.
  • The environment in which businesses are operating is somewhat improving: economic and financial uncertainty has decreased compared to last year and financing conditions have gradually improved. Financing conditions are not an inhibitor to growth.
  • Defensive strategies remain CFOs’ main priorities. CFOs see little opportunity to invest, be it in Belgium, in the Eurozone or overseas. Risk appetite has further decreased in the second quarter following a steady increase in 2012.
  • CFOs are very critical on the impact of government policy: the vast majority of CFOs report current policies are inappropriate and not contributing to the long-term success of businesses in Belgium.

About the CFO Survey

 

The Deloitte CFO survey is the only survey of major corporate users of capital which gauges the attitudes of the CFO towards valuations, risks and financing. The survey, which takes place every quarter, brings the views of CFOs to a wide audience in the media and among policy makers. Most importantly we believe that the survey is a valuable benchmark for CFOs in gauging the views of their peers.

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