New CFO Innovation Survey Detects Return of Optimism
The CFO Innovation Asia Business Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2010 has been released and there’s good news for CFOs – and some red flags.
The majority of the executives surveyed are more optimistic today about the economy than in the previous quarter, and in higher numbers than in the survey conducted last year. Sixty seven percent say they are more optimistic or very optimistic, up from 61% previously.
But there is markedly less optimism in China. Only 51% now say they are more optimistic or very optimistic, down from 69% in the previous survey and a high 80% in the one previous to that. Hong Kong and Singapore, which just announced a stunning 32% GDP first quarter 2010 expansion, are the most optimistic.
Conducted from March 31 to April 13 this year, the latest survey polled 215 CFOs, finance directors, controllers, treasurers, CEOs and other senior executives across Asia. The study is attracting increasing numbers of respondents – the previous one had 205 participants while the inaugural survey released last October had 160.
Asia’s finance executives are less optimistic about the prospects of their own company, but only slightly. Half will increase capital spending in the next 12 months, up from 40% who said the same in the previous survey.
But in a sign of the return of pre-crisis challenges, 67% of the companies surveyed expect wages and salaries to rise. Indeed, as was the case before the global crisis, companies now consider attracting and retaining qualified employees as their most serious internal problem. The ability to cut costs and reduce supplier spend was the topmost internal issue in the previous survey.
The CFO Innovation Asia Business Outlook Survey is an independent study conducted every quarter. The survey asks the region’s finance and other senior executives about their outlook in terms of the prospects of their local economy and their own company, the top internal and external problems their company faces, spending forecasts, strategic priorities and other issues.