UK CFOs more pessimistic than their global counterparts

Chief Finance Officers in the UK are decidedly downbeat about the UK’s economic prospects for the remainder of this year, according to the latest global research.

The survey, which was conducted by American Express, discovered a more bullish attitude from countries like India, where 85% of CFOs expect their economy to expand this year, and Germany, where 73% expressed confidence. In the UK, only around 25% of CFOs are optimistic about the coming months.

CFOs around the world are hoping to invest in mergers and acquisitions in order to expand R&D and operating capacity. They also intend to increase their headcounts in the coming 12 months.

It’s a different story at home, where senior finance directors are planning to conserve cash, inflict cuts and implement tighter spending measures. However, these could just be short-term measures as 58% of CFOs in the UK expect substantial economic growth will return next year.

55% of CFOs in Britain are setting less aggressive targets this year than they did in 2011. They have aimed for realism and more than three-quarters believe they will meet these targets.

Only 24% of companies in the UK intend to increase their headcount this year and the majority will only do so in order to acquire specialist skills and improve expertise. 58% of UK CFOs say they will need to implement slight headcount reductions. Worryingly, 8% expect to see substantial cuts in employee numbers.

The continuing problems in the Eurozone are unlikely to improve CFO’s confidence in the immediate future.

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