CFOs are performing a delicate balancing act

Cost-cutting plans mute strong growth vibes

 

CFOs walk the tightrope

 

Finance executives’ rising optimism for growth and the economy is tempered by cost-cutting plans and supply chain unease, according to Grant Thornton’s CFO survey for the third quarter of 2022.

 

What’s in the report?

  • CFOs’ optimism about the U.S. economy grew to 45% in the third quarter from 39% the previous quarter.
  • By nearly a 2-to-1 margin finance executives expect their organizations to grow over the next year.
  • More than half (58%) of respondents ranked cost optimization among their top three areas of concern.
  • Supply chain difficulties continue to frustrate finance executives, as 41% ranked supply chain as one of their top three challenges.
 
 
 
 

CFOs balance growth and cost control

 

As interest rates continue to rise and inflation displays an unusually stubborn staying power, CFOs find themselves performing a delicate balancing act.

 

On one hand, their optimism over the economy in Grant Thornton LLP’s CFO survey for the third quarter of 2022 has risen slightly over the previous quarter, and by almost a 2-to-1 margin CFOs expect to see net profit growth at their organizations over the next year.

On the other hand, they view cost control as their most urgent imperative, and they are concerned that they might not be able to meet their labor needs.

Confidence in the U.S. economy improved over the second quarter of 2022, even amid rising interest rates and entrenched inflation. Forty-five percent of CFOs said they are optimistic about the outlook for the U.S. economy over the next six months, while 31% were pessimistic.


Meanwhile, 58% of respondents listed cost optimization among their top three priorities for the next six months, and 40% chose workforce rationalization as one of their top three objectives.


Note: Figures do not add to 100% due to rounding
 

Bar chart showing CFOs' net profit projections
 
 
 

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Enzo Santilli

Enzo Santilli is Grant Thornton’s chief transformation officer and a member of the firm’s Senior Leadership Team.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Sean Denham

Sean Denham is the Global Services Industry Leader and Office Managing Partner (OMP) for Grant Thornton’s Philadelphia office.

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