Prospects rise as optimism of finance chiefs at highest level in five years

Optimism among corporate Ireland’s finance chiefs is at its highest level for nearly five years, with the majority upbeat on employment, personal prospects, and the country’s exports and foreign investment outlook.

The latest edition of Deloitte’s chief financial officer Survey covers the fourth quarter of 2013. It shows that, for the first time since its inception 18 quarters ago, in late 2009, not a single respondent cited a fall in optimism about the financial prospects of their company.

Over 50% of respondents are more optimistic than three months ago while 92% of chief financial officers believe the unemployment rate will continue to fall.

“We have seen that many companies have stood on the sidelines over the last couple of years waiting for the moment to reinvest,” said Deloitte Ireland partner Shane Mohan.

“While the wider uncertainty about the macro-environment continues to be a consideration in the investment plans of companies, it is no longer an impediment and this confidence is feeding into new investment.

“Chief financial officer responses indicate that their companies are prioritising the pursuit of opportunities ahead of limiting risk, and growing and scaling their business ahead of contracting/ rationalising.”

Mr Mohan added: “Interestingly, the renewed optimism among finance officers is broadly based around a range of factors such as the economy, specific market trends, availability of financing, and other operational items. This is positive as it does not leave companies exposed or vulnerable to a single contributory factor that may change over the coming period.”

Credit availability, however, is still viewed as an obstacle to growth for firms, with 19% of respondents feeling funding remains hard to get from domestic banks, rising to 33% when it comes to overseas lenders.

Respondents urged the Government to invest in ICT, energy, and agriculture to support growth.


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