From chief procurement officers to chief executive officers, the C-Suite is vocal about what it expects for its businesses, and for the economy at large. This week's B2B Data Digest collects insights from surveys of CEOs, CFOs, CPOs and more, diving into their expectations for finances, cyberthreats and hiring.
Fifty-seven percent of CEOs expect global economic improvement over the next year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in its latest CEO Survey: The Anxious Optimist in the Corner Office. As the title implies, while CEOs are feeling confident about the economy (CEOs surveyed in all regions revealed record-high levels of optimism for the year), only 45 percent said they are "very confident" about their own growth prospects. An additional 46 percent said they are "merely confident." Over-regulation remains the top concern for chief executive officers today, as it was in 2017. However, PwC found that terrorism and cyberthreats increased their standing on CEOs' priority lists, while geopolitical uncertainty also emerged as a top threat. Compared to 2017, concerns over uncertain economy growth and exchange rate volatility dropped significantly.
Sixty-one percent of CEOs at small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) plan to increase employment, while only 5 percent said they plan to reduce headcount, Vistage found in its Q2 2018 CEO Confidence Index. As with other surveys, Vistage found SMB chief executive officer confidence to remain strong: 48 percent plan to increase investments in their businesses and 78 percent expect revenues to rise this year. These executives will likely focus on acquiring new customers, entering new markets, incrementally improving products and services, and reducing costs by integrating operational efficiencies, Vistage analysis found.
A Deloitte survey found a 6.3 percent revenue growth for the year as the strongest forecast among CFOs in nearly four years. Deloitte's CFO Signals: 2018 Q2 survey also revealed a three-year high in CFOs' expectations for earnings, as chief financial officers express a focus on revenue growth over cost reduction and cash investments over returns. Optimism among CFOs remains strong, researchers noted, though it saw a decline compared to Q1. CFOs' largest concerns exist with U.S. policy, particularly when it comes to trade. Concerns over economic risks have also begun to rise, according to Deloitte, as these executives point to rising pressure on achieving growth, driving initiatives and finding talent. In all, 94 percent of CFOs consider North American business conditions to be good, and more than half expect conditions to further improve in the coming year.
Fifty-one percent of chief procurement officers feel they lack sufficient skills and capabilities among their teams to deliver on procurement strategies, Deloitte found in The Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey 2018. The finding could signal that concerns and stresses over a tight labor market and access to talent are felt throughout the C-Suite, including among procurement chiefs. However, one-third of CPOs say their digital procurement strategies will allow them to produce results on their organizations' objectives, and 73 percent agree they have the support of other leaders within their organization. As they struggle to deliver on procurement goals, however, transparency has emerged as a top challenge: 65 percent of CPOs said visibility beyond Tier 1 suppliers is limited or non-existent.
Eighty percent of C-Suite executives in the FinServ industry expect cybersecurity threats to increase, according to FICO's USA — Views from the C-Suite 2018 survey. The industry is tied with the retail/eCommerce sector first in terms of how many members of the C-Suite are concerned about cybersecurity. More than a third of FinServ C-Suite executives said cyberattacks have increased by as much as 25 percent. Interestingly, FICO found that most C-Suite executives across industries feel their organizations are at least better than average in their readiness for a cyberattack, though analysts warn that this probably represents an "over-optimistic" view of preparedness.