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Record number of CFOs prioritising investment, data finds

Expansionary strategies, including introducing new products and services, expanding into new markets and raising investment are a greater focus now than at any time since the question was first asked in 2009

Finance leaders are focused on growth, with a record 37% rating an increase in capital investment as a strong priority for their business in the next 12 months, according to Deloitte’s UK CFO Survey Q4 2021.

The survey saw 85 chief financial officers (CFOs) participate, including CFOs of 21 FTSE 100 and 29 FTSE 250 companies. The combined market value of the 60 UK-listed companies that participated is £493bn, approximately 19% of the UK quoted equity market.

It revealed expansionary strategies, including introducing new products and services, expanding into new markets and raising investment are a greater focus now than at any time since the question was first asked in 2009.

According to the firm, a record number of CFOs say increasing capital investment is a strong priority for their business in the year ahead, with the majority expecting greater investment in digital technology and workforce skills over the next three years.

Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, said: “Like equity markets, which rallied into the new year, CFOs seem to be looking past Omicron and plan to focus their businesses on growth in 2022.

“It is a measure both of the remarkable snap-back in activity from the pandemic and the scale of the challenge today that CFOs rate labour shortages as the greatest risk to business.”

He added: “This is ahead of even the pandemic, in second place. Strikingly, the worries that dominated the risk list in recent years – above all Brexit and weak global growth – have dropped sharply down the risk rankings.”

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