Fiscal cliff was most worrisome risk, revenue growth the top challenge.
The Deloitte CFO Signals Survey polled 86 North American chief financial officers from large corporations posting annual revenues of more than $1 billion. Seventeen were Canadian executives. Here are some highlights:
• Potential detrimental impacts of the “fiscal cliff” in the US became the most worrisome risk for CFOs in the fourth quarter, surpassing global economic stagnation and the European crisis. Only one in five CFOs expected the US to go “over the cliff” by the end of 2012, even though there is strong concern about political gridlock in Washington.
• Despite the focus on the fiscal cliff, the European crisis still ranks in the top three of CFO’s most worrisome risks, but about 60% of CFOs have no plans for addressing changes in the European situation, either because they have planned only for the status quo to continue or have no specific plans for any particular scenario.
• Overall, CFOs say their companies’ top four challenges include revenue growth from existing markets (60%), framing and/or adapting strategy (37%), talent (33%) and prioritizing investments (29%). For Canadian CFOs, talent was tied with revenue growth from existing markets as their top challenge.
• Improving finance’s ability to be a business partner is a constant struggle. To better serve their business units, CFOs said they most want to improve finance’s capabilities around strategic planning (52%), IT/information management (48%), and budgeting and financial planning (47%).
• Major change initiatives, changing regulatory requirements and strategic ambiguity are the three biggest job stresses for CFOs, while board relationships and demands appear to be a growing source of stress.
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