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Company growth outlook
Central Europe CFO Survey
The year to come will bring growth and financial prosperity. There is definitely more optimism than in previous years as CFOs expect their companies to deal successfully with the challenges caused by a relatively unfavourable business environment.
This is not to say that attitudes are overly optimistic. CFOs are aware of the threats and will carefully consider their decisions. For example, despite the predicted growth of companies and rising revenues, the general consensus is that risky decisions should be avoided and spending should be kept in check.
In addition, CFOs from different sectors have diverging opinions. Many Life Sciences and Consumer Business CFOs expect their companies to grow, whereas the majority of those from the Public Sector and the Business & Professional Services, Construction & Real Estate and Financial Services sectors expect the market to stabilise.
Such differences are the result of the uneven growth rates of different sectors. The Life Sciences sector, for example, is flourishing due to increased investment in innovative technologies, while the Construction & Real Estate sector is still trying to recover from the fallout of the financial crisis.
The priorities of CFOs remain similar regardless of sector. As well as keeping expenses under control, which has already been mentioned, their focus is on developing new products and services.
Despite stating that attracting qualified employees will be the most serious challenge in the year to come, CFOs nevertheless expect the workforce of their companies to grow. This is especially true for CFOs of companies in the Technology, Media, Communications and Business & Professional Services sectors. By contrast, Public Sector CFOs expect to see workforce reductions, caused among other factors by government pressure.
The vast majority of CFOs do not expect to see falls in the cost of employment, equity and real estate in the near future. However, plans are in place to reduce production costs, which will most likely be achieved by implementing more effective and innovative production methods. It appears that these planned cost reductions are not directly related to a company’s financial position, but rather originate from planned restructuring activities or changes that affect production and the scope of the company’s operations.