Strategic opportunities

In recent surveys, we have noted an increase in optimism and a shift towards a more expansive agenda. The current survey indicates these expectations have levelled off somewhat, but remain high. Swedish CFOs express expectations that are somewhat more cautious with regard to growth in revenues, operating margins and their cash flow than in the fall 2017 survey, but they remain more optimistic overall than their EU peers. As seen in the past few surveys, Swedish CFOs expect their companies’ number of employees to increase, although shortages of skilled professionals remain a concern.

Use of excess cash

In the spring 2018 survey, investments in Sweden still remain the preferred choice. This is primarily driven by Financial Services, Construction and Business & Professional Services – sectors in which the majority of CFOs consider investments the preferred choice.

Corporate acquisitions and divestments

Compared to the fall survey, even more of the CFOs (now 94%, 90% in the fall) expect merger and acquisition (M&A) activity to remain at its current high levels, or possibly increase even more.

Key metrics

Swedish CFOs have more cautious expectations about revenues, operating margins and cash flow than in the fall 2017 survey. But they are more optimistic compared to both EU and Nordic peers when it comes to revenues, capital expenditures (CAPEX) and Employees.

Swedish CFOs express a higher net balance of expectations about employees than both their EU and Nordic peers but also a larger percentage that will increase their company’s headcount – actually a majority will expand their number of employees.