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Perspectives

What’s keeping CFOs up at night in 2018?

CFO Insights

There are plenty of reasons why CFOs might be suffering from insomnia—not all of them negative. Far from it, in fact. While the range of issues that give finance chiefs restless nights is far from exhaustive—and promises to test their strategic reflexes—awareness will hopefully help secure their vigilance.

Introduction

November 2018

Growth, it turns out, brings its own stressors. While in Deloitte’s Q3 2018 CFO Signals™ survey CFOs’ expectations for year-over-year revenue growth remained at one of its highest levels in the past four years, respondents expressed concern about their organizations’ abilities to stay focused and execute on growth and change initiatives. They also continued to rank securing and retaining talent as among their top internal risks.1

But, as bright as the economic foreground may appear, a less vibrant horizon looms—one that forward-looking finance chiefs can’t help but glimpse. In fact, the survey found that the proportion of CFOs who expect better conditions in North America in a year dropped from 52 percent in the second quarter, to 45 percent in Q3—the lowest percentage in two years. Moreover, 71 percent of CFOs said equity markets were overvalued, up from 63 percent in the previous quarter.2

What’s driving those numbers is likely also what’s keeping CFOs up in 2018: uncertainty about a range of fast-moving issues (trade policy), persistent challenges (finding and keeping talent) and familiar-but-evolving qualms (global volatility). And in this issue of CFO Insights, we detail those concerns, along with seven others, drawn from the various activities and resources of Deloitte’s CFO Program, which include our Next Generation CFO Academies, CFO Transition Lab™ sessions, CFO Forums, CFO Vision™ conferences, and CFO Signals surveys.

While this list of issues that give finance chiefs restless nights is far from exhaustive—and may test their strategic reflexes—awareness will hopefully help secure their vigilance.

Range of issues

CFO Insights, a bi-weekly thought leadership series, provides an easily digestible and regular stream of perspectives on the challenges you are confronted with.

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About Deloitte's CFO Program

The CFO Program brings together a multidisciplinary team of Deloitte leaders and subject matter specialists to help CFOs stay ahead in the face of growing challenges and demands. The Program harnesses our organization’s broad capabilities to deliver forward thinking and fresh insights for every stage of a CFO’s career—helping CFOs manage the complexities of their roles, tackle their company’s most compelling challenges, and adapt to strategic shifts in the market.

Learn more about Deloitte’s CFO Program.

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Deloitte CFO Insights are developed with the guidance of Dr. Ajit Kambil, global research director, CFO Program, Deloitte LLP; and Lori Calabro, senior manager, CFO Education & Events, Deloitte LLP.

Endnotes

1 North American CFO Signals survey, see Q3 2018, US CFO Program, Deloitte LLP.

2 Ibid.

3 “US, Canada, and Mexico just reached a sweeping new NAFTA deal. Here’s what’s in it,” Washington Post, October 1, 2018.

4 Office of the United States Trade Representative.

5 North American CFO Signals survey, US CFO Program, see Q3 2018, Deloitte LLP.

6 “Length of economic expansions,” Seeking Alpha, July 6, 2018.

7 North American CFO Signals survey, see Q1 2018, US CFO Program, Deloitte LLP.

8 North American CFO Signals survey, see Q3 2018, US CFO Program, Deloitte LLP.

9Execution risks: Stepping over 12 common hurdles,” CFO Insights, US CFO Program, Deloitte LLP.

10 North American CFO Signals survey, see Q3 2018, US CFO Program, Deloitte LLP.

11 North American CFO Signals survey, see Q1 2018, US CFO Program, Deloitte LLP.

12The 2018 global CIO survey: Manifesting legacy—Looking beyond the digital era,” US CIO Program, Deloitte LLP.

13CEO and board risk management survey: Illuminating a path forward on strategic risk,” October 2018, Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory.

14Creating an effective communications program,” CFO Insights, US CFO Program, Deloitte LLP.

15 Crunch Time V: Finance 2025, September 2018, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

16 North American CFO Signals survey, see Q2 2018, US CFO Program, Deloitte LLP.

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