CFOs expecting hard times ahead with upcoming election: survey

Finance executives expect "volatility to continue until at least the election, and possibly beyond", says American Express official

With the federal election only a few months away, almost 80 per cent Australian CFOs are expecting political gridlock and uncertainty to take a toll on the economy in the months ahead, according to a global survey by American Express.

The Global Business and Spending Monitor survey of 519 CFOs at large companies from around the world found 47 per cent of Australian CFOs believe their company is likely to lower its public earnings forecasts during the coming fiscal year.

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Sixty-three per cent said there’s likelihood of a shortened planning horizon due to market volatility over the coming year.

“Ongoing uncertainty has forced Australian companies to be more conservative in their decision making and to shorten their forward-planning until they see more stability in the market place,” Christine Wakefield, vice-president and general manager of American Express Global Commercial Payments, said in a statement.

“The executives we interviewed for this survey have said they expect this volatility to continue until at least the election, and possibly beyond.”

The survey also found 76 per cent of Australian CFOs said compliance costs have increased over the past five years, with 56 per cent expecting these costs to continue to increase over the next year.

However, 82 per cent of Australian CFOs said they have evolved and gained more influence in their organisations since the global financial crises and other global challenges.

“The current environment has led to a shift in how CFOs approach their planning and decision making. Interestingly, it has also elevated their influence within their own companies,” Wakefield said.

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