UK CFOs Rediscover Appetite for Expansion

The UK’s top firms are more willing to expand than at any point over the past two years, according to a survey issued by Deloitte.

In addition to showing expectations for hiring and investment at their highest since 2011, 45% of the 135 chief financial officers (CFOs) who participated in the quarterly survey said that now is a good time to take a risk, the highest level recorded since its inception in 2007.

More are inclined to spend on staffing and investment. A net balance of 33% of UK firms said they now expect to increase investment, while a quarter of the CFOS reporting that they had shifted their focus from cutting costs to expansion, while overall business optimistic increased for a fourth straight quarter.

UK firms also report that they are finding it easier to raise funds, with 56% of CFOs reporting that credit is readily available, rather than harder to access, and a net 53% regard it as cheap – another record level in the survey’s six-year history.

“It is particularly encouraging to see the move towards growth among UK-facing companies,” Deloitte chief economist Ian Stewart said. “These companies have been consistently more defensive than their international-facing peers in the last two years.

“Rising risk appetite and a shift towards expansion show that large UK corporates are increasingly planning for growth. Expansion is back of the agenda for many businesses with expectations for hiring and investment back to levels not seen since early 2011, when the world seemed set for recovery.”

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