Top priorities for Chief Finance Professionals Revealed
Deloitte recently published the findings from its second quarter survey on Chief Financial Officers – revealing a strong focus on defensive strategies for 2018 caused by the uncertainties surrounding Brexit. This high level of uncertainty, according to Deloitte’s findings, is causing many CFOs to pay particularly close attention to cost control and cash flow – with both appearing at the top of the priority list this year.
If you haven’t yet come across the Deloitte survey findings, here are the top 8 items rated by CFOs as their strongest concerns for 2018:
- Increasing cash flow
- Reducing costs
- Introducing new products/services or expanding into new markets
- Expanding by acquisition
- Raising dividends or share buybacks
- Reducing leverage
- Disposing of assets
- Increasing capital expenditure
Interestingly, Scottish accountancy body ICAS also revealed some similar findings among Finance Directors. Revealing some of the most pressing issues keeping FDs awake at night, controlling costs, which was actually last year’s runner-up, came in at first place. Growing revenues, which made the top spot last year, is this year’s second biggest issue, followed by recruitment and retention in third place.
We’ve listed the top 10 from ICAS below:
- Controlling costs
- Growing revenues
- Recruitment and retention
- Fraud prevention
- Corporate governance
- Other IT issues
- E-commerce and the internet
- Bringing new products and services to the market
- Regulatory issues
Controlling costs, growing revenues and recruitment have always lurked somewhere among the top priorities of chief finance professionals throughout the UK – something we’re not expecting to change any time soon.
In fact, Deloitte reports that for many CFOs, their risk appetite remains below average, with 44% of businesses admitting facing an increase in recruitment challenges over the last few months. Some feel a rise in skill shortages has been the main hiccup affecting their recruitment decisions.
ICAS, on the other hand, reports that half of their respondents will be increasing their hiring efforts throughout the next 12 months, while 18% plan to reduce hiring during the same time. In terms of redundancy, 23% of Finance Directors are expecting these to take place within their businesses during the remainder of the year – a 6% increase on last year.
A rising theme of uncertainty
Interestingly, Andrew Walker CA, Partner with Johnston Carmichael, commented: “While we can’t sit back and wait for events to unfold, organisations need to take time to understand what the workforce of the future will look like, and take a fresh look at their attitudes to talent, to ensure whatever investment they make in people shows fairly quickly on their bottom line.”
Of course, no one can predict the future, making uncertainty a recurring theme among most businesses – even more so now as we sit and wait for deals to be made. However, preparing for all economic scenarios is where the real challenge lies for many finance chiefs. While some plan to invest in talent, any recruitment decisions are of course expected to rapidly reflect on profitability.
A solution to your challenges in recruitment and cost control
At Manwood James, we understand the many challenges involved when it comes to recruitment. However, with a deep-rooted understanding of the operational side to managing a business combined with being experts in recruitment, we’re helping businesses generate the best results through investing in the right professionals.
In addition to our recruitment expertise, we’re also proud to be working alongside a leading business advisory consultancy – to help drive better business performance and ultimately increase profitability. To discuss how we at Manwood James can assist your organisation from either a recruitment and/or performance related perspective, contact us today.