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Deloitte’s 4th quarter CFO survey marks eighth straight quarter of optimism

By Rob Starr, Big4,com Content Manager

Deloitte’s 4th quarter CFO survey for North America launched yesterday. It highlighted  the eighth straight quarter where CFOs are optimistic about their organization’s prospects.  However, uncertainties persist and CFOs remain cautious of domestic external risks and the global economy’s performance. Gregory Dickinson, Director, North American CFO Survey Deloitte, answered some questions for us via email.

What is making  CFOs optimistic about their organization’s prospects? 

There are likely a number of factors both internal and external, but one of the strongest

Greg  Dickinson

Greg Dickinson

seems to be a general and durable confidence in the trajectory of North American economies.

What are the uncertainties that still exist and why?

CFOs say that, despite their general confidence, they are concerned about uncertainties related the future of interest rates, fiscal policy, and the general regulatory environment – especially in the aftermath of US elections that generated Republican control in both the House and the Senate. They still voice concerns about uncertain economic prospects in Europe and growth in China, and they are still worried by continuing geopolitical conflicts.

  What are some of the other big takeaways? 

Some of the results that stood out for me this quarter were around interest rates, energy costs, and pricing.  I think it is  interesting that, in an environment of low interest rates, low energy prices, and relatively low global demand growth, many CFOs said their companies have been able to raise their pricing above pre-recession levels – and that many expect to raise their prices going forward.

What does the future look like given these results?   

It is very hard to say, although sentiment and expectations have been quite good for several quarters now despite geopolitical and financial markets gyrations. It will be interesting to see what happens as post-election political priorities in the US become clearer and as we move closer to the 2016 elections – largely because government policy and regulations seem to have such a high impact on CFOs’ views.

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