European CFO Survey


European CFO Survey Q1 2016

Politics takes centre stage

Welcome to the third edition of the European CFO Survey, a major initiative of the EMEA CFO Programme. The Q1 2016 Survey presents the opinions from nearly 1,500 CFOs across 17 European countries, giving access to a wide comparison of national sentiment in a continuing period of economic uncertainty. These opinions are focused around topics such as risk appetite, financial prospects, strategic priorities and this quarter’s special question on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

What European CFOs are telling us

In today’s global economy, the ability to compare CFO sentiment helps give a more in-depth understanding of how some of the most influential Chief Financial Officers in Europe react to changing market conditions.

Since our previous European CFO Survey in Q3 2015, the Eurozone economy has continued its modest recovery. Chief Financial Officers across Europe have begun 2016 in a cautiously optimistic mood, but are acutely aware of the headwinds ahead. Download the report to find out more.

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Key findings

Optimism on the up…

  • Of the nearly 1,500 participating CFOs across 17 countries, a small majority of CFOs say they have a more positive view about growth in their businesses than they did six months ago. CFOs in eurozone countries are once again more optimistic about the financial prospects for their companies than their non-eurozone peers
  • The outlook on employment, has been a particular source of optimism in the eurozone despite the overall fall across Europe, with the outlook for hiring particularly strong in Italy and Ireland – two countries that saw among the sharpest rise in unemployment following the financial crisis of 2008-09
  • Monetary policy has also continued to spur growth, with central banks incentivizing bank lending to stimulate activity; the outlook for bank borrowing has improved again from six months ago, and remains positive.

But politics could puncture growth…

  • Europe entered 2016 facing a number of political and geopolitical challenges, which seem to be weighing heavily on sentiment in a number of countries. Geopolitical or political factors rank as the top two business risks for two-fifths of CFOs
  • A large portion of CFOs report levels of external uncertainty to be higher than normal, and rising perceptions of this uncertainty have been accompanied by risk appetite falling sharply and CFOs reporting increased pressures on operating margins
  • The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the proposed trade agreement between the US and the EU, is being met with limited enthusiasm, with 73% of the cohort reporting that there would be no discernible impact to their businesses from the deal, reinforcing the notion that political and geopolitical uncertainties are currently more prominent issues for CFOs

Given all these issues, it is unsurprising that CFOs are no more than cautiously optimistic. Download the report to find out more.

Analyse the data allows you to analyse data across countries, clusters, and sub-regions, and compare each country’s response to our survey questions.

The European CFO Survey is part of a global cohort of surveys benchmarking the current and future intentions and opinions of European Chief Financial Officers. The findings discussed in this report are representative of the options of 1,490 CFOs based in 17 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. CFOs were all contacted between January and March 2016. Visit for detailed analysis and comparisons between Q1 2016, Q3 2015* and Q1 2015 data.

*Please note that a correction was made to the GDP weighted average values for the Q3 2015 Russian data. Three values were corrected, linked to the use of funding through corporate debt, equity and internal financing. Any relative percentage change shown in this report is based on the updated data.

Key contacts

Michael Grampp


Michael is Deloitte’s Chief Economist in Switzerla... More




Alan Flanagan

Partner, Consulting | Deloitte Ireland

Alan is a Consulting Partner, based in the Dublin ... More

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