A third of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are more optimistic compared to last quarter according to the latest Deloitte Quarterly CFO Survey. Reduced interest rates, stronger growth in China and the increased price of iron ore have all combined to improve the outlook amongst the 73 ASX300 CFOs who took part in the research.
With two cuts to the official cash rate in the fourth quarter, over half (56%) of the respondents identified falling interest rates as having a positive impact on their levels of optimism. This also enhanced the attractiveness of bank borrowing, with 23% of CFOs saying that the cost of credit was cheap or very cheap. Almost two thirds (63%) of respondents expect the RBAs official cash rate to continue to fall below the current rate.
Although 79% of CFOs have some sort of productivity measure in place, around one in five (21%) of them fail to track this key efficiency and competitiveness indicator. When it comes to improving productivity the most popular areas of focus for CFOs was to increase their revenue from existing customers (85%), move into new markets or acquire new customers (75%), and invest in training and development of employees (72%).
As Chinese economic growth starts to strengthen the percentage of CFOs who said their optimism was impacted by a Chinese slow down fell from 73% to 53% this quarter.