Deloitte Study: 73% of CFOs Expect Less Congressional Gridlock in Next Administration

A new Deloitte report says 73 percent of surveyed chief financial officers at multiple North America-based public and private companies anticipate less congressional gridlock under the incoming U.S. administration.

Deloitte said Thursday it polled 137 CFOs from Nov. 9 to 23 for the professional services firm’s “CFO Signals” report for the fourth quarter of 2016.

The survey found 86 percent of respondents expect significant changes in the Affordable Care Act; 66 percent predict a decline in corporate taxes; and 74 percent believe repatriation of cash to the U.S. will become more attractive.

Fifty-three percent of respondents forecast immigration reform legislation; less than 10 percent predict Congress will pass trade deals with Europe or Asia; and 69 percent expect new infrastructure investments and a rise in national debt, according to Deloitte.

The company said 43 percent of CFOs are optimistic about their respective companies’ prospects in the fourth quarter of 2016, up from 35 percent the previous quarter.

Year-over-year revenue growth expectations decreased to 3.7 percent from 4.2 percent in the last quarter while earnings growth expectations reached 6.4 percent from last quarter’s 6.1 percent.

The top external risks CFOs identified are uncertainty about the new administration; the impact of protectionism on global trade and global growth or recession; and new or burdensome regulation.

Fifty-eight percent of U.S. respondents expect a boost in U.S. economy over the next year while 14 percent of Canadian CFOs think their economy will improve and no Mexican CFO forecast better conditions for Mexico’s economy.

The survey revealed 43 percent of respondents believe current conditions in North America’s economy are good, down from 46 percent last quarter, while 58 percent expect better conditions next year compared to 37 percent last quarter.

Fifty-four percent of CFOs expect their revenue to grow; 66 percent anticipate it will be difficult to employ industry-skilled talent; and 67 percent think wage increases will be necessary to acquire and retain highly-skilled workers.

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