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Study: European CFOs See Post-Covid Recovery Ahead

Senior financial executives from across Europe, including Greece, are expressing increasing optimism that the Covid-19 pandemic is on its way out, expecting business activity to recover in the next 12 months, according to the Deloitte European CFO Survey Spring 2021.

More specifically, 78 percent of Greek and 74 percent of European CFOs expect an increase in their companies’ revenues within the next year. At the same time, only 13 percent of Greeks and 12 percent of Europeans polled predict a decrease in turnover. 

Conducted twice a year, the study collected feedback from 1,500 CFOs in March this year in 19 European countries. According to Deloitte analysts, the improvement in confidence levels is evident in all countries across all sectors of the economy.

Deloitte European CFO Survey Spring 2021

Key takeaways include the fact that a large number of European companies are already focusing on the future in the aftermath of Covid.

Two in three CFOs said they were already preparing for or shaping their post-pandemic future entering what they describe as “prosperity phase”, while 14 percent said they were still in the survival mode.

Optimism is more pervasive among European CFOs in the life sciences and healthcare sectors with over 80 percent saying they consider their businesses to be booming.

On the downside, expectations are low in the tourism sector, where no CFOs said their company had returned to pre-pandemic levels. Only 15 percent expect to do so by the end of this year, with one in two saying that their companies are still concerned about ensuring their viability.

In finance, however, three-quarters of CFOs said they are already at pre-crisis levels or expect to be by the end of the year. CFOs in the retail sector are also seeing an upward trend with 66 percent claiming they were in a recovery phase.

Key concerns among CFOs polled include a possible weakening in demand and the overall state of the economy and its recovery. Indicatively, 69 percent of European and 47 percent of Greek CFOs surveyed found the  levels of economic and financial uncertainty to be high. They did however add that their investment intentions have surged to levels not seen since March 2018. 

Deloitte analysts also found the outlook for employment to be positive across all industries, even those hit hardest by the pandemic. Approximately 44 percent of Greek CFOs and 38 percent in Europe said they intended to boost their workforce over the next 12 months.

Commenting on the findings, Panayiotis Chormovitis, Equity Partner in Financial Advisory and Transaction Support Leader at Deloitte Greece said the pandemic “tested the resilience of individuals and businesses”. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital change with new technologies and new ways of working entering the game. Many companies seem to have already turned the page and are focusing on the new reality as it begins to take shape,” said Chormovitis.

“The degree to which companies will be able to emerge from the crisis and position themselves in a stronger spot in their industry will depend on their ability to solve the complex equation of adapting to new data. At the same time, the timely detection of risk and opportunities in the context of a new business environment as well as prudent investment in sustainable terms, both in people and in digital transformation and new technologies, as well as environmental awareness or organizations will be key factors towards the design of an innovative, flexible and growth strategy for businesses in Europe,” he said.

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