While progress on tax reform in Washington, D.C. is generating optimism across many segments of the nation’s business community, chief financial officers at many middle-market companies are taking a wait-and-see stance, focusing closely on self-funding programs to promote growth, according to a new Citizens Commercial Banking survey.
The bank’s inaugural national survey of 300 CFOs at companies with annual revenue from $25 million to $2 billion – key creators of jobs and drivers of U.S. economic activity – found that a majority of respondents expect continued economic improvement, with 60 percent anticipating tax policy changes that will amplify company growth. In addition, most survey participants are relying on self-funding strategies to help implement their companies’ growth strategies. Among the key findings:
- More than 80 percent of those surveyed said a key objective for 2018 is to continue improving operational efficiencies;
- 47 percent anticipate their companies’ expansion into new markets;
- 46 percent expect a healthy pipeline of new company product launches over the next 12 months.
“By and large, the CFOs we surveyed are watching the prospects for tax reform closely,” said Steve Woods, head of Corporate Banking for Citizens Commercial Banking. “However, confidence in the new administration’s ability to enact its pro-business agenda appears to be mixed, and companies are continuing to focus on self-funding of growth initiatives.”
Survey respondents said their roles have been changing rapidly – a trend that is expected to accelerate. In addition to managing company financials, many middle-market CFOs are now expected to shape organizational strategies, identify new business opportunities and expand the use of technology – creating a role more akin to a “chief growth officer.” In fact, 29 percent said they spend as much time on strategy as they do on financial and operational tasks.
Additionally, survey respondents said keeping pace with technological advances, including electronic payments, real-time payments and the use of big data, will be their most critical need over the next three years.
“As the role of the middle-market CFO expands and the anticipated changes in the business landscape take hold, there will be growing demand for trusted financial advisors to help these ‘chief growth officers’ in middle-market companies to take advantage of new opportunities,” said Woods.
Citizens is a trusted strategic and financial advisor, consistently delivering clear and objective advice. The Citizens Commercial Banking approach puts clients first by offering great ideas combined with thorough market knowledge and excellent execution to help our clients enhance their business and reach their potential.
About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $151.4 billion in assets as of September 30, 2017. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,200 ATMs and approximately 1,200 branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers corporate, institutional and not-for-profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services, including lending and deposits, capital markets, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest rate products and asset finance. More information is available at www.citizensbank.com or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
Frank Quaratiello, 617-725-5851