Company growth outlook
Central Europe CFO Survey
Despite business environment concerns, CFOs are highly optimistic in their expectations for their own businesses for 2017.
- How confident are CFOs in their companies’ ability to operate successfully in a testing business environment?
- Could this confidence be based on CFOs’ continued risk-aversion and the strict cost controls they plan to implement?
- Will they manage to meet their own plans to grow revenues during the year ahead?
- How does workforce growth / reductions differ in individual sectors?
Financial position of companies to improve
Much like last year, CFOs are convinced that their companies will continue to do well over the next six months. However, they were slightly less optimistic this year (with a Net Balance of 33% compared to 37% in 2016). A further 35% of CFOs do not expect the situation to change significantly. Attitudes differ from sector to sector. Life Sciences and Consumer Business CFOs are the most optimistic (with Net Balances of 53% and 45% respectively).
Opinions are mixed among the CFOs of Business and Professional Services firms (30% are optimistic, 35% are pessimistic) and Construction & Real Estate companies (58% are optimistic, 29% are pessimistic). The majority of CFOs in other sectors are either optimistic or anticipate no significant change in the situation.
Rising revenues are expected in the year ahead
The majority of CFOs believe that revenues will rise over the next year (with a Net Balance of 57%). This has not changed significantly since the 2016 survey, when the Net Balance stood at 51%.
The CFOs of Consumer Businesses (with a Net Balance of 81%), Life Science (76%), Construction & Real Estate (71%) and Technology, Media Telecommunication (70%) companies continue to be the most optimistic. Those in the Public Sector (30%) and the Financial Services (26%) and Energy, Utilities, Mining sectors (23%) included the highest proportions of CFOs with a pessimistic outlook. Public Sector CFOs have mixed opinions.
Most CFOs expect operating margins to grow
There has been a slight increase over the last year in the proportion of CFOs with a pessimistic view of future changes in operating margins (25% this year compared to 18% last year). They continue to be in the minority, however, with a Net Balance of 13%. The largest proportion of Financial Services CFOs (46%) holds a pessimistic view of the future and is expecting a decline in their operating margins.
Although the percentage of those with a pessimistic outlook was also high among the CFOs of Consumer Business companies (40%), the overall trends in the sector are optimistic (with a Net Balance of 10%). The CFOs of Life Sciences companies are the most optimistic (showing a Net Balance of 53%).