European CFO Survey with Portugal insights Spring 2021

A new wave – of optimism

Deloitte has been conducting the European CFO Survey since 2015, where we get to know the opinions of CFOs across Europe. The data for the Spring 2021 edition was collected in March where more than 1.559 responses were obtained from CFOs from 19 countries and a diverse range of industries.

  •  In Portugal, as in Europe,  sentiment has improved: 52 per cent of inquired CFOs feel more optimistic about their company’s financial prospects than they did in autumn survey (39 per cent) and the percentage of CFOs that still feel less optimistic has decreased from 28 per cent in autumn to 13 per cent in spring. Portuguese CFOs are in the top 10 of the most optimistic countries in Europe.
  • Only 25 per cent consider their companies to be already at or above pre-COVID level (compared to 40 per cent average in Europe), while 50 per cent expect to return to pre-crisis level after the second half of 2021 (compared to 35 per cent average in Europe).
  • Portuguese CFOs feel that the overall level of external financial and economic uncertainty facing their business remains high or very high (55 and 15 per cent, respectively).
  • The positive sentiment is also present at employment and capital expenditure expectations, that were at an all-time low last autumn. 33 per cent of CFOs in Portugal now expect to increase the number of employees in their companies for the next 12 months, while 50 per cent expect the number to remain the same. Capital expenditure is expected to increase for 38 per cent of respondents, while 44 per cent believe there will be no changes.
  • For Portuguese CFOs the top priority is digitalization, hitting an all-time high (86%), followed by cost reduction. Regarding growth strategies, growth in existing markets and introducing new products and services have a higher priority than entering new markets or expanding by acquisition.


CFO survey 2021 Spring edition shows an improvement in business sentiment across Europe, with more than a half of the Portuguese CFOs preparing for and shaping the post-pandemic future.

Looking ahead uncertainty remains high, and although business sentiment compared to 3 months ago has also improved, the majority expects an increase in revenues, no changes in employment and CAPEX.

To thrive companies will focus on digitalization, but Portuguese CFOs also highlight the importance of cost reduction. Increase in capital expenditure (CAPEX) and expanding business by acquisition has been postponed.

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