CFOs are today more optimistic about U.S. economic growth than they were a year ago, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2014 CFO Outlook survey. The survey of middle market companies shows that CFOs expect their companies’ sales to increase in 2014, with growth coming from doing more business with current customers and winning new customers.
Nine out of 10 CFOs expect their companies to increase or maintain the size of their workforce in 2014.
Of the financial executives who participated in the annual survey:
• 54% expect their companies’ 2014 sales to be higher than in 2013
• 37% expect sales to be at the same level
• 8% expect sales to be down in 2014 from the 2013 level
“Middle-market companies are increasingly exploring different paths to growth, from creating deeper relationships with existing customers to entering new markets that have great potential,” said Alastair Borthwick, head of Global Commercial Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The CFO Outlook mirrors what we’ve heard in conversations with our clients: With the right strategy and financial partner, 2014 can bring more opportunities for expansion and success.”
Factors that are causing the most CFO concern with regards to potential negative impacts on the U.S. economy in 2014:
• 67% healthcare costs
• 62% the effectiveness of the U.S. government
• 47% the U.S. budget deficit
Despite concerns about healthcare costs, nearly three-fourths of CFOs said their companies are completely ready (28%) or mostly ready (46%) to comply with the Affordable Care Act.
CFOs' average score for the U.S. economy: 53 out of 100, up from 49 a year ago.
CFOs' average score for the global economy: 50, up from the year-ago score of 49.
CFOs' expectations for economic growth in 2014:
• 47% expect expansion, up from 39% a year ago
• 12% expect the economy to shrink, down from 24% a year ago
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