CFO-Monitor: German Finance Managers anticipate “No Deal” Brexit
Since 2016 politics in Europe have focused on the planned divorce of the UK from the European Union. Even after the planned exit date in Spring of this year and the extension to the end of October everything is still possible, from a ‘No Deal’ Brexit to a withdrawal from the exit plan. But German finance managers now think the disorderly exit is the most likely outcome, according to the latest IUBH study CFO Monitor of around 250 CFOs in mid-sized and large companies around Germany.
The CFO assessment of Brexit is overwhelmingly critical
In the latest IUBH research project German finance decision makers were surveyed in May and June of this year on the relevance of the topic for their company, the Brexit related measures and the most likely exit scenario. “The fact that Germany’s CFOs now see ‘No Deal’ as the most likely outcome was a huge surprise”, says Professor Silke Jütte, who initiated the CFO Monitor together with Professor Arne Schulke of the IUBH. “That shows clearly that CFOs no longer have confidence in the ability of politicians to reach acceptable compromises on this topic.”
Relevance and measures: This is how CFOs are preparing for Brexit
The most important results of the first edition of the CFO Monitor on the special theme of Brexit can be summarised as follows:
- Outcome of negotiations: Almost a third of those surveyed anticipate a ‘No Deal’ exit without a Withdrawal Agreement. A quarter of respondents have faith in a newly negotiated deal and only 20% see a chance for the deal already negotiated and even less, at 18%, anticipate a retreat from Brexit.
- Preparation measures: “Brexit will not be without consequences for the economy. After all, the UK is Germany’s fifth largest trading partner” says Schulke. That is why he and Jütte also asked the respondents about their preparations. The majority (79%) of respondents said that they had already taken measures to prepare. The most frequently named preparation measure was the shift of focus to alternative markets.” This is a reaction which seems justified in light of concerns around sustained negative impact on the British economy”, says Jütte. Increased stocks, internal organisational measures, increased financial reserves and proactive pricing adjustments were also frequently named.
- Direct consequences: At around two-thirds, the majority of respondents considers the consequences of Brexit for the UK to be negative or very negative. Around 15% even anticipate a severe economic crisis with a drop in the UK GDP of more than 10%.
- Longer term consequences: More than two thirds of the respondents consider it probable at varying levels that the British are not the only ones to leave the EU.
- Relevance for their own company: 54% of the surveyed CFOs see low to no relevance of Brexit for their own company. But for a quarter of companies Brexit is highly or very highly relevant, especially in the manufacturing sector.
“Interestingly almost half of those surveyed felt that it was ‘right’ for the British people in spite of the negative consequences”, Arne Schulke commented on the results. “This can stem from a certain irritation around the topic, as a comment from one CFO reflects well: ‘I don’t care which Brexit but yesterday please!’”
The first edition of CFO Monitor can be downloaded
The first edition of the CFO Monitor, funded by partner and SME consultant Allfoye, can be downloaded at www.cfo-monitor.de and www.iubh-university.de/forschung/publikationen. Each edition of the Monitor focuses alongside the ‘Top Ten’ questions on business situation, strategies and risk analysis on a special topic, which the participants can choose in advance. In the first edition the assessment of the Brexit situation was chosen.
About the authors of the CFO Monitor
Professor Arne Schulke strengthens the team at the IUBH International University in the areas of Controlling, Management and Aviation, after serving as Professor at the European College Rhein-Erft (EUFH). Before his move into teaching, Schulke worked at time:matters, a Lufthansa Cargo company, for 11 years both as CFO and later as COO. time:matters is a highly specialised special speed logistics provider offering international same-day transport and customer-specific highly sensitive transport solutions.
Professor Dr Silke Jütte represents quantitative methods at the IUBH International University. After several years as Operations Manager at Deutsche Post Consult, Jütte was responsible for quantitative issues in logistics as a Project Manager and Software Developer at a Cologne consultancy. To this end, she especially dealt with matters of HR planning and network planning.