Unemployment to continue falling in 2014, say 92% of CFOs – Deloitte CFO Survey
4 February 2014. Optimism for companies at highest level since survey began in 2009.
Nine out of 10 (92%) Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) of large Irish companies believe that the unemployment rate will continue to fall somewhat during 2014. CFOs also expect a number of further positive developments including an increase in both Foreign Direct Investment (62%) and exports (88%) to contribute to economic recovery in Ireland this year, according to the Deloitte Q4 2013 CFO Survey.
For the first time since the survey began in Q3 2009, some 18 quarters ago, not a single respondent cited a decrease in optimism about the financial prospects of their firm with a total of 52% of respondents now more optimistic as the year begins.
This widespread confidence is reflected at a practical level among firms - a net 83% of CFOs expect revenues to increase over the next 12 months and a net 75% of respondents expect operating cash flows to increase over the course of 2014.
Commenting on the survey findings, Shane Mohan, Partner, Deloitte commented:
“It has been a long time coming but our survey results suggest that Irish CFOs are increasingly buoyant in relation to the financial prospects of their companies with no survey respondents citing a decrease in optimism compared to three months ago – a first in the history of the survey.”
“We have seen that many companies have stood on the sidelines over the last couple of years waiting for the moment to reinvest. While the wider uncertainty about the macro environment continues to be a consideration in the investment plans of companies, it is no longer an impediment and this confidence is feeding into new investment. CFO responses indicate that their companies are prioritising the pursuit of opportunities ahead of limiting risk, and growing and scaling their business ahead of contracting/rationalising.”
“Interestingly, the renewed optimism among finance officers is broadly based around a range of factors such as the economy, specific market trends, availability of financing and other operational items. This is positive as it does not leave companies exposed or vulnerable to a single contributory factor that may change over the coming period.”
Despite the rebound in confidence and growth, an obstacle that remains for Irish businesses is tight credit conditions which continue to restrict business growth. Despite a notable improvement in the perception during 2013 of the availability of new credit, this figure dipped to a net 19% who believe that new credit is difficult to obtain from domestic banks and a net 33% who consider it difficult to obtain credit from overseas banks.
Respondents were also asked to identify the industries they believe the Government should invest in to support growth in the economy. ICT, energy and agriculture emerged as the top three areas of importance.
For full details of the Deloitte Q4 2013 CFO Survey, please visit www.deloitte.com/ie/cfo-survey.
About the survey
This is the eighteenth in a series of quarterly surveys by Deloitte of Chief Financial Officers of major Irish based companies. The survey was conducted in December 2013. The Deloitte CFO Survey is the only survey that seeks to establish the views of CFOs of listed companies, large private companies and Irish subsidiaries of overseas multinational companies in relation to the financial markets, economic outlook and business trends on a quarterly basis.
Many of the charts in the Deloitte CFO Survey show the results in the form of a net balance. This is the percentage of respondents reporting, for instance, that bank credit is available less the percentage saying bank credit is unavailable.