The 2015 CFO Sentiment Study found 60% of CFOs have a strong positive outlook for the U.S. economy in 2015, a significant increase from 2014 when only 30% of the CFOs surveyed felt U.S. economic conditions were strong. The survey was conducted by the CFO Alliance, a global community of senior financial leaders.
Major findings of the 2015 CFO Sentiment Study:
Organic growth is a top priority – Of the finance chiefs polled, almost 40% cited organic growth as their highest priority to drive revenue in 2015. This compares to roughly 15% focused on developing new products or selling into new markets.
Human capital is a significant focus – More than 50% felt investing in human capital would yield high returns on investment. Further reflecting the importance of human capital, 66% of CFOs were either concerned or greatly concerned about talent acquisition and retention in 2015.
The customer experience really matters in 2015 – Forty-six percent of survey respondents feel enhancing their customers’ experience is the most important driver of top-line growth.
Marketing takes center stage – CFOs stated driving growth and profitability will hinge upon companies’ marketing efforts and nurturing the customer experience, with 61.5% of financial executives indicating that their marketing initiatives will be the No. 1 factor impacting their company’s success.
Market share growth leading to company investments – Sixty-three percent of executives indicated that increasing market share will be the single most common focus of investment for their companies in 2015.
Top-line revenue growth: Seventy-nine percent of executives polled expect revenue to increase in 2015, 66% expect earnings to rise, while only 49% expect margins to improve. More than 40% of CFOs will look to increase sales of their existing product lines as the main channel to drive top-line revenue growth. Not surprisingly, the most common financial challenge cited by CFOs (44%) in 2015 is meeting top-line revenue targets.