Deloitte: CFOs' views on global economic conditions have dimmed

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Their apical priorities for 2022 are talent/labor, fiscal show and growth, according to Deloitte's Q4 survey of Fortune 500 CFOs.


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Not surprisingly, foremost connected CFOs' minds close present are endowment and retention, inflation, supply-chain shortages, changes successful authorities policies and COVID-19 variants, a caller study finds. There's besides a caller contented keeping them up astatine night: interest for leadership's ain capableness to instrumentality connected yet much challenges, according to Deloitte's Q4 CFO Signals survey.

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Talent/labor, fiscal show and maturation are CFOs' apical 3 priorities for 2022, with talent/labor outpacing "growth" astir 2 to 1 successful presumption of the frequence cited, the survey found. Financial show fell successful the middle. Other priorities see strategy setting, outgo management, superior allocation and IT infrastructure.

With a bulk of CFOs anticipating input costs to increase—and immoderate substantially—in 2022, it makes consciousness that outgo absorption is simply a priority, said Steve Gallucci, U.S. and planetary nationalist managing spouse of the CFO Program astatine Deloitte.

The survey assessed North America's apical fiscal executives' economical outlook, including their views connected the system and markets, fiscal prospects and maturation for their ain companies, and forward-looking strategy. In bid for CFOs to usher their companies to occurrence successful 2022, they volition person to prioritize investments successful endowment and labor–a apical interest exacerbated by the Great Resignation.

"CFOs' wide uniformity connected talent/labor, fiscal show and maturation arsenic their apical 3 priorities for 2022—and strategy-setting arsenic a 4th priority—are absorbing due to the fact that these issues are often associated with the CEO's domain,'' Gallucci said. "It volition beryllium absorbing to spot what CFOs bash successful the twelvemonth up to enactment their companies successful these areas."   

Meanwhile, CFOs clasp dimmer views of existent economical conditions successful North America, Europe, Asia and specifically China, according to the report.

Looking a twelvemonth ahead, CFOs lowered their assessments of each the determination economies tracked by CFO Signals, compared with Q3, though by antithetic degrees, the study said. For example, respondents' assessments of North America's system 12 months retired declined by 9 percent points, for Europe by 8 percent points—and for China by 27 percent points.

The survey was conducted anterior to quality of the Omicron variant outbreaks, Deloitte said.

Internal and outer risks for CFOs

In presumption of interior risks, CFOs are particularly acrophobic astir hiring, retention, attrition, burnout, worker well-being and development, the study said.

"Related to endowment were wage ostentation and return-to-work challenges, including the hybrid enactment model,'' the study stated. "CFOs besides expressed interest implicit strategy execution, exertion and the gait of digitalization and innovation, outgo containment and absorption capacity, among different issues."

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CFOs ranked inflation, including wage inflation, and proviso concatenation issues arsenic their apical outer concerns, with fractional of the respondents citing ostentation and astir one-third mentioning proviso chain, the study said.

Policies and regularisation was the adjacent highest category, including changes successful fiscal policies and authorities betterment measures. Geopolitical worries, COVID-19 (with an accent connected caller variants and vaccine mandates) and cybersecurity risks followed.

CFOs' expectations for their companies successful 2022

Ninety-two percent of responsive CFOs indicated their organizations volition person much automation and technologies embedded successful operations, and 34% expect to summation outsourcing of operations, the survey found.

Further, 41% of CFOs expect their organizations to person a smaller existent property footprint, portion 88% said their organizations volition usage a hybrid enactment exemplary consisting of on-site and enactment from location successful 2022.

 More than fractional (52%) of CFOs said their organizations volition necessitate employees to beryllium vaccinated against COVID-19 to enactment on-site, with an objection for aesculapian oregon spiritual reasons, and 57% said they volition necessitate predominant COVID-19 investigating of employees who are not vaccinated.

Looking ahead, expect to see:

Substantial investments successful endowment and labor: Some 97% of CFOs expect their investments successful endowment and labour to substantially summation successful 2022. CFOs besides raised their year-over-year expectations for superior spending, home wages and salaries, and home hiring from the past quarter.

Steadily decreasing economical expectations: Nearly 3 quarters (72%) of CFOs rated the existent North American system arsenic good, down somewhat from 78% successful 3Q21. Just nether fractional of CFOs (45%) presumption North America's system arsenic amended successful a year, compared with 54% successful 3Q21.

Increasing national involvement rate: Three-quarters of CFOs expect the people involvement complaint for U.S. national funds to beryllium accrued successful 2022 and to scope betwixt .26% and .5% oregon .51% and 1%. Nearly fractional (46%) of concern executives expect the complaint summation to hap successful the 2nd quarter, portion 23% of CFOs each expect the summation to instrumentality spot successful either the archetypal oregon 3rd quarter.

Implications of planetary taxation agreement: Almost each (96%) of respondents said that the planetary taxation statement would person nary interaction connected their existent offshoring arrangements, nor would they marque changes arsenic a effect of this agreement. 

CFOs' narration with the C-suite

The survey recovered that CFOs ranked their relationships with their CEOs arsenic astir important to their idiosyncratic success. A 4th of CFOs indicated that they would similar to amended their relationships with concern portion leaders the most.

Chief information/technology serviceman ranked 4th connected CFOs' apical 5 database of the C-suite relationships that are astir important to their idiosyncratic success, placing them supra committee directors, including the audit committee. Gallucci called this "surprising and, frankly, encouraging."

In presumption of technologies, 92% of CFOs indicated their companies would embed much automation successful their operations successful 2022. And IT infrastructure was cited by much than one-quarter of respondents arsenic a apical precedence for 2022, astir apt owed to organizations' accrued reliance connected IT and the emergence of digitalization, the study said.

Gallucci said the findings bespeak that CFOs are approaching the caller twelvemonth with a batch of challenges, "but they look laser-focused connected moving their organizations forward—through endowment recruiting and retention strategies, superior allocation, pricing, automation and technologies and outgo absorption successful airy of expectations for higher input costs."

He added, "I expect CFOs volition beryllium taking lessons learned from the past 2 years, whether they're dealing with talent/labor retention, proviso concatenation disruptions oregon accrued costs, arsenic we look caller variants of COVID-19 and effort to recognize their imaginable implications."

All respondents to the Deloitte Q4 Signals survey are CFOs from the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and the immense bulk are from nationalist and backstage companies, predominantly with much than $1 cardinal successful yearly revenue, the institution said. Participation was unfastened to each industries but for nationalist assemblage entities.

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