European CFOs believe their businesses face a grim set of financial and economic conditions shaped by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, increasing inflationary pressures, shortages of skilled labour, market and supply chain disruptions and setbacks to their business transformation aspirations.
The Deloitte European Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) Survey for Autumn 2022 reveals that CFOs see the impacts of the invasion of Ukraine as going from bad to worse. Russia’s invasion in February has caused enormous difficulties for businesses and economies around the globe, with severe disruption to energy availability, especially for natural gas, surging energy prices and persistently high consumer price inflation.
The level of financial and economic uncertainty recorded by the European CFO Survey reached an all-time high in spring 2022, immediately after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This survey sets a new record.
“In general, we see that CFOs continue to worry more and more about the short-term financial prospects for their company. However, they are more optimistic about revenues and their hiring intentions, although they continue to experience unusual difficulty finding employees with the skills they need.”
Deloitte’s European CFO Survey for autumn 2022 gives insights into the attitudes and views of 1,151 CFOs in 15 countries including 110 CFOs from Denmark. The data for this edition of the survey was collected in September 2022.
The European CFOs identify weak economic growth, a shortage of skilled labour and rising energy costs as the three factors likely to hold the most significant risk for their businesses over the next year. Also, economic and geopolitical uncertainty, coupled with high and still rising interest rates, has led to a sharp pullback in risk-taking by European CFOs across all sectors.
European CFOs are growing more defensive as they seek to steer their businesses through the harsh economic environment. In particular, they are prioritising cost reduction as the number one strategy for the next year.
Inflation is running at levels not seen since the 1980s, but European CFOs expect that the average inflation rate will ease to around 6.10 per cent in the euro area and 4.11 per cent in the non-euro area by the end of 2023. Companies are seeking to cushion the impact of inflation by passing on the costs to customers.
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