Deloitte has released its European CFO Survey for spring, which revealed the mood and concerns shared by CFOs across the continent.
More than 1,000 CFOs were canvassed for the survey across Europe, who gave their view on hiring and investment intentions, current strategic priorities they deem vital to success, as well as views on critical business risks.
It provides a reliable indicator on sentiment throughout Europe.
This is the nineth version of the European CFO Survey, which shows how expectations surrounding key business metrics has deteriorated further from what was recorded six months ago.
Tellingly, it reveals businesses are less willing to invest in and add to their workforce; a decline in demand and the weaker overall economic outlook are the main concerns faced by CFOs in the continent.
Based on responses from the European CFO Survey, the outlook in terms of increased revenues and operating margins is much gloomier than from the survey six months ago.
Optimism in UK CFOs regarding financial prospects was recorded at -24% in the survey; that is to say that 24% fewer respondents in the UK said they were more optimistic, than the ones that said they are less optimistic.
The report from Deloitte found that confidence and risk amongst CFOs in the UK remains muted; financial leaders believe there will be a decline in revenues, and therefore, a tighter focus on cost pressures and tight credit conditions is expected.
It’s perhaps an indicator of the mindset of the UK’s CFOs that there is a greater emphasis now on cash accumulation than at any point in the last nine years.
David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte North West Europe commented: “Large businesses are clearly looking to protect themselves against risk by raising cash levels and bullet proofing balance sheets.
“they appear to be battening down the hatches for tougher times ahead.”