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Expansion 'is priority for CFOs'

31/10/13

The UK's chief financial officers (CFOs) are set on expansion as the country's economy begins to recover following a difficult few years and the corporate world looks to emerging markets, according to the latest report from Deloitte.

While there are differences across industries, with some performing better than others, the overall picture is looking rosier than it was five years ago.

Deloitte found CFOs see less risk in the environment than in recent years, while defensive strategies such as cash accumulation and cash-cutting could be replaced with more creative approaches and attempts to develop businesses.

A record 54 per cent of CFOs say that now is a good time to take risk on to their balance sheet, while favourable credit conditions and high cash levels make it easier to work towards growth and expansion.

Tony Attard, north-west chairman of the Institute of Directors, told the Liverpool Post the results were encouraging.

"While economically we are only seeing the initial green shoots of growth, businesses are seeing it as a sign of things to come and are increasingly considering capital investment and more prepared to take risks," he explained.

The corporate world is "slowly building confidence" after the recession, which is promising news for the sector, Mr Attard suggested.

For the first time in 18 months, CFOs have chosen an expansionary strategy as their top priority, placing greater emphasis on spending capital and less on safety-orientated approaches such as reducing costs and leverages.

Furthermore, expectations for expenditure, hiring and discretionary spending over the next year have hit their highest level for three years, as the business world begins to recover.

This follows a new report from the Treasury showcasing how the UK's financial services sector remains a world leader, suggesting the industry is still out-performing many of its European counterparts.

However, the government's stance on the EU could still have a negative impact on businesses across the country as it is one of the UK's biggest trading partners.

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