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Top 4 things keeping CFOs up at night

CFOs across all industries name their biggest concerns for the next 12 months.

Although relatively optimistic that the economy will stay the same or improve over the next 12 months, 55 percent of American CFOs aross all industries said uncertainty in the U.S. economy is a major concern that could impact their business’ growth over the next year, according to Grant Thorton’s Summer 2015 CFO Survey.

Here are four things concerning CFOs most, based on the poll results.

Congressional dysfunction regarding taxes
CFOs are particularly frustrated by the dysfunction in Congress over a bill to extend more than 50 popular tax provisions that expired at the end of 2014. More than a third of executives (37 percent) believe the extension will not occur and are planning accordingly, while 9 percent fully assume the extension will occur. Fifty-one percent of companies that actually use the provisions are doing all of their planning under the assumption that the extension will not occur, according to the report.

Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is a major source of concern and uncertainty for financial leaders across all industries. The survey found 44 percent of CFOs say the most significant cybersecurity risks are the unknown risks, while 57 percent say it is the potential for undetected breaches that keep them up at night. Notably, more public companies (47 percent) say they are at risk of reputation loss as a result of cyberattacks compared to private companies (31 percent).

Regulatory and compliance burdens
Nearly half (45 percent) of CFOs say that increasing costs of compliance poses the biggest roadblocks to growth, and 31 percent named keeping up with the volume and complexity of regulations as their top challenge.

Talent development and recruiting
A majority of finance executives (70 percent) say finding and retaining the right talent is critical for supporting growth. Forty percent expect their businesses will increase hiring over the next six months, and 52 percent think hiring rates will remain the stable. Almost three-quarters (67 percent) of CFOs plan to increase employees’ salaries in the next 12 months.

Grant Thorton conducts its CFO Survey twice annually with CFOs and other senior financial executives across the U.S. The Summer 2015 CFO Survey took place between June 23 and July 22 with 912 CFOs and comptrollers participating.

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