Tatum Reveals Key Trends and Challenges Facing CFOs in Latest Survey of Business Conditions

July 9, 2015

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Quarterly Executive Survey Reveals Many Companies Unprepared to Address Cybersecurity Risks, Decreased Confidence in Coming Months

ATLANTA, July 9, 2015 Tatum, a leading professional and interim services firm offering hands-on strategic, financial and technology solutions that measurably improve business performance, today announced the results of its second quarter Survey of Business Conditions, a high-level executive survey based on the opinions of Tatum’s chief financial officer (CFO) partners and external CFOs.

This latest survey focused on the issue of cybersecurity and how leaders are working to protect their organizations from the impacts of cyber breaches and intrusions. Although the majority of those surveyed recognized the serious threats to their company, many also report that more work could be done to protect their critical business information. The results show strong consensus around the ability of respondents’ companies to identify their most critical information assets and information systems, with more than 70 percent asserting they have effectively prioritized cyber risks. However, there is much less agreement when asked if their personnel understand that cybersecurity is everyone’s job; nearly 40 percent disagreed that their frontline personnel are trained to understand the value of the information assets they touch each day.

At the same time, almost half (48 percent) of respondents reported that cybersecurity is not managed like an enterprise risk demanding an integrated strategy, involving risk analysis and presented in regular executive-level and board discussions. This indicates significant room for improvement in how companies contend with cybersecurity risks. Moreover, slightly more than half (55 percent) of CFOs surveyed indicated that CEOs or other members of the senior leadership team are actively engaged in cybersecurity strategy decision-making, while 44 percent report that their senior leaders are not involved in such activities.

In addition to investigating how companies are navigating cybersecurity risk management, Tatum also asked participants to share their views on overall business trends from the past 30 days and offer their projected business outcomes for the next two months. Overall, Tatum found a downward trend for the second quarter, with just 26 percent of Tatum partners reporting 30-day improvement in business conditions and less than half (40 percent) predicting improvement in the next 60 days. Tatum partners also reported negative outlooks for several key economic indicators, such as decreased sales and order backlogs, reined in capital expenditure commitments and curtailed hiring. The majority deemed it unlikely that these factors will rebound significantly in the next 60 days.

“Tatum’s Survey of Business Conditions provides a timely look at business activity trends and the most pressing challenges for today’s CFOs, enabling us to keep a close watch on how finance professionals are contending with these issues,” said Suzanne Donner, managing partner, Knowledge Management for Tatum. “Despite other reports of a generally improving economy, our second-quarter survey found the majority of Tatum partners and external CFOs report that key economic drivers are idling rather than revving up. External CFOs, however, had a more positive outlook than Tatum partners with nearly half believing that conditions will improve in the next 60 days.”

Donner continued, “Our other major finding – a large number of CFOs acknowledging that companies could be mitigating the dangers of increasing cybersecurity risks more effectively – highlights the need for greater strategy around this growing concern. Tatum will keep a close watch on both of these trends to see how they play out over the next quarter and to determine what CFOs are doing to keep up in this dynamic landscape.”

Tatum has made its second quarter 2015 Survey of Business Conditions report available for download at: http://www.tatum-us.com/knowledge-center/thought-leadership/survey-of-business-conditions/.


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