Internal Concerns, Inflation, and Interest Rates
With the “Great Resignation” continuing to exert pressure on organizations of all sizes, CFOs expressed an ongoing focus on recruiting and retaining top talent to build future-ready finance teams. Top-of-mind challenges include wage inflation, return-to-work challenges, employee morale, and work culture.
CFOs worry whether their organizations can provide sufficient flexibility for workers who require it, while also trying to provide a high level of customer service with lower staffing levels. Employee burnout and fatigue also ranked among their concerns.
Finance leaders also thought about getting the right talent to move technology investments forward, especially as the need for specialized roles increases, highlighting a recurring organizational theme of workforce skills.
Over the next 12 months, CFOs expect domestic wages and salaries to inch up to 5.3% from 5.1% in the first quarter. Growth expectations for domestic hiring remained unchanged from the first quarter, at 5.3%.
Other high-priority topics for CFOs include strategy execution, financial performance, transformation, supply chain issues, operational challenges, and increased costs.
“During the survey open period, inflation rose to its highest level in 40 years, and the Federal Reserve implemented the largest increase in interest rates in some 20 years, and CFOs are acutely feeling the impact of both,” the report notes.
Perhaps not surprisingly, CFOs are nearly as risk averse as they were at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than one-third (35%) said now is a good time to take greater risks, down from 47% in the previous quarter. The latest figure is significantly lower than the two-year average of 53% and slightly higher than the low point of 27% in the secord quarter of 2020, as the pandemic reached global proportions.