KPMG hosted a cross-industry group of chief financial officers (CFOs) to discuss their most pressing issues as they move forward in 2022: inflation, labor, and wages; balancing short-term and long-term financial projections; supply chain constraints; and investing in innovation. Carl Carande, U.S. vice chair and global head of Advisory led the discussion; Ken Kim, senior economist, and Brian Higgins, principal, Strategy and Operations, specializing in supply chain strategy and execution, provided subject matter insights.
With recent declines in COVID-19 cases and the easing of restrictions in many jurisdictions, companies are looking forward to putting the biggest challenges of the pandemic behind them. Yet CFOs clearly see that some significant issues remain. The economy continues to experience inflation and supply chain disruptions, and labor shortages have put pressure on companies to increase wages for some segments of their workforce. The uncertainties of COVID-19 meant their companies couldn’t provide investor analysts with specific short-term guidance. Now, CFOs are weighing the advantages of continuing to focus on providing long-term projects to the street. And with the crisis of the pandemic largely passed, CFOs affirmed that a recommitment to investment in innovation was critical for continued success.
KPMG expects the Federal Reserve to begin raising interest rates in March and continue through 2022, with the policy rate going from the current 0 to 1 percent by year-end.
- Companies have responded to pressures to raise wages, but increases haven’t been across the board. Rather, raises have been targeted to specific worker segments and geographies.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic CFOs avoided offering short-term guidance to analysts due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Now, they hope to continue the practice of offering only longer-term projections to the Street, focusing on strategy, investments, and innovation.
- Despite the disruption of COVID-19, companies continued their investment in innovation, including automation and robotics.
- CFOs are grappling with supply chain issues by working more closely with vendors and even venturing into “gray markets.”
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