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CFOs Take Sudden Turn In Optimism

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All of a sudden, chief financial officers in North America are looking towards a bright future.

The latest data from Deloitte suggests a sudden spike in optimism among CFOs, as found in its quarterly survey. Financial executives' confidence in their businesses has significantly increased in Q2 compared to Q1, researchers said, according to an online post by Deloitte on Monday (Aug. 8).

The survey yielded a net optimism reading of +30.0, a major boost from Q1's +1.7 reading.

Nearly 60 percent of CFOs said they lean toward growing revenue more than towards reducing costs, the highest level in more than a year, according to Deloitte. More than half said they have bias towards cash investments over stakeholder returns.

During Q2, CFOs were particularly optimistic about growth in revenue, earnings, capital spending and domestic hiring, four metrics that all rebounded to new levels following low readings in Q1, reports said.

But Deloitte did point out that the survey was conducted prior to the Brexit vote.

"While it is encouraging that CFOs' sentiment regarding their companies' prospects rose sharply this quarter, the survey's net optimism measure is relative and not absolute, meaning that sentiment is a lot better than it was last quarter but not necessarily good compared to longer time frames," wrote Deloitte North American CFO Survey Director Greg Dickinson.

He added that the gear-up to the U.S. presidential election will likely impact the reading as CFOs brace for effects on regulation.

Separate research published earlier this year by Billtrust found an array of issues at the top of CFOs' minds for this year. Cash forecasting was ranked as the number one issue of these professionals, though topics like data security also ranked high, according to analysts.

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