Amidst the faltering performances of major economic zones, more Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) in Southeast Asia are feeling less optimistic of their business’ financial prospects over the past years.
The Deloitte 2015 Southeast Asia CFO survey report, “The CFO as the Talent Champion”, polled 91 CFOs between July and August 2015 and revealed that 39 per cent of the respondents are optimistic about the financial prospects of their companies, which is balanced with the 36 per cent of CFOs who feel doubtful about their companies’ prospects as compared to three months ago.
More than three-quarters of those who feel less optimistic pointed to external factors as the cause of their concerns which include the sharp decline in the Malaysian ringgit and recent terrorist attacks in Bangkok.
Seventy-five per cent of CFOs surveyed feel that the pressure of external uncertainties facing their businesses is high.
CFO outlook over the next 12 months
Contradicting the dwindling optimism, CFOs are still relatively positive on their expectations for revenue growth. Sixty-eight per cent estimate an increase in their revenues this year.
Thirty-four per cent of CFOs expect operating margins to decrease in the next 12 months, which seems to either indicate an anticipation of higher costs, or companies’ intentions to leverage on the economic slowdown to grow their business.
Forty-nine per cent of CFOs in the region envisage M&A activity to increase, of which 30% are businesses in the Financial Services industry. Last but not least, 46 per cent of CFOs are looking to increase their headcount this year.