Respondents to the "
CFOs also weighed in on their concerns about various international economies. U.S. CFOs confidence in the global economy showed improvement, with an increase to 53.9, up three points from the previous quarter (50.8). Nearly three-quarters (73%) of U.S. CFOs believe their businesses will be unaffected by a slowdown in
"The results of this quarter's survey show that overall economic confidence among financial leaders in the U.S. has improved," said
The respondents' optimistic view on hiring and employment at their companies is reflected in their plans to hire mid-career professionals, entry-level college graduates and experienced and skilled technical workers. In addition to plans to hire, nearly three-quarters of U.S. CFOs (72%) said they did not have to reduce their workforce over the past 12 months. CFOs also expect the U.S. employment rate to improve, declining slightly to 7.3 one year from now.
"Previous surveys have shown reduction or minimal growth in the number of U.S. CFOs with plans to hire additional staff. However, the results of this quarter's survey could indicate this trend is turning around," said
Other findings from the
- Healthcare: The majority of U.S. CFOs anticipate their businesses will be affected by healthcare changes, with 58% of respondents expecting the new healthcare regulations will increase the employee co-pay within their companies and 43% expecting it will reduce the quality of healthcare packages available and/or reduce benefits for employees. When asked about the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) within the past six months, companies experienced on average a four percent increase in related costs as a result of this regulation.
- Cash/Capital: U.S. CFOs stated that they are most commonly accessing capital from banks, with a third accessing capital from equity and a quarter from debt markets. While the majority of respondents said they are not using or considering any alternative sources of funding, 16% said that they are considering asset-backed loans and 11% are considering an acquisition in the next 12 months.
- Quantitative Easing: The majority of U.S. CFOs believe that Quantitative Easing (QE) will taper off by the end of 2014, while a quarter believe it would taper off by the end of this year. CFOs are generally split on the impact of QE on their companies – while 52% do not anticipate an impact, 48% expect QE ease to affect their businesses, financing and equity/debt markets.
- Inflation: CFOs expect the rate of inflation will be two percent on average six months from now and close to three percent one year from now. CFOs continue to carry a low to moderate level of concern toward inflation, as evidenced by 75% of respondents selecting "three or lower" on a concern scale of one to five. The majority of respondents indicated that this level of concern is consistent with their level of concern in the previous quarter. However, for 61% of CFOs, the volatility of energy prices has increased expectations for inflation.
- Interest Rates: U.S. CFOs expect interest rates to remain below one percent over the next six months, and increase slightly one year from now. The majority of U.S. CFOs are not overwhelmingly alarmed about interest rates this quarter, with 69% of U.S. CFOs rating their concern at levels "three or lower" on a scale of one to five.
- Capital Spending: Based on responses from U.S. CFOs, there are more companies currently spending at a normal rate or making ambitious investments in capital expenditures (54%) than there are those spending cautiously or holding off on all or nearly all capital investments (46%). Of those making capital expenditures, the majority are directing investments towards technology (67%).
- Sequestration: This year, the majority of businesses (65%) were not impacted as a result of sequestration. Of the 18% that were impacted, revenue was the area most affected (82%). Contracts, customers and delays in orders were also commonly reported as being affected.
Full survey results and historical data comparisons are available at www.financialexecutives.org or from
Overview of the Survey:
This quarter, the
|Source:||PR Newswire Association LLC|