CFOs positive about state of industry, domestic economy

76 per cent anticipate making additional hires: Survey
||Last Updated: 05/07/2012

Canadian CFOs of middle-market companies are positive about the state of their own industry as well as the domestic economy, according to a survey by GE Capital, Canada.

Forty per cent of the 186 respondents expect their industry to grow over the next 12 months and 39 per cent expect the economy to grow. However, they show significantly lower sentiment about the state of the global economy.

Their number one concern as it relates to the growth and stability of the Canadian economy in 2012 is the future health of the United States economy, cited by 36 per cent of respondents. European fiscal conditions were the second greatest concern, cited by 19 per cent.

"Mid-market CFOs are confident about their industries and their ability to drive business forward despite ongoing U.S. and European fiscal issues," said Katherine Lee, president and CEO of GE Capital, Canada. "While their concerns are clear, CFOs are focused on growing their businesses this year through smart investing and the effective use of capital."

In general, Canadian CFOs are more optimistic about the state of the industry in which they operate than their U.S.-based peers (GE Capital conducted a similar survey of 495 U.S.-based CFOs). They're also more optimistic about their national economy than those in the U.S.

The costs of doing business in Canada — labour, energy, and materials, supplies and equipment — are cited as the top three factors that will significantly impact business performance in the next 12 months. U.S. CFOs expect health care to be the biggest factor, followed by the cost of materials, supplies and equipment.

Slightly more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of CFOs surveyed in Canada expect their revenue to be greater in 2012 compared to 2011. Another one-quarter expect revenues to be stable.

CFOs were fairly split in their predictions related to profit margins, with 45 per cent expecting similar figures compared to last year, and another 40 per cent expecting greater margins, found GE Capital.

Many (42 per cent) CFOs expect their cost structures to remain fairly stable this year, while 36 per cent expect them to increase.

Sixty-three per cent of CFOs have already made new hires in 2012, and 76 per cent anticipate making additional hires in the next 12 months.

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