Corporate chiefs turn positive over economy

New Zealand Chief Executive Officers are significantly more positive about the outlook for the global economy over the next 12 months than their global peers.

This is one of the key findings from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Annual Global CEO Survey.

The New Zealand Supplement, released on February 14, 2014 shows that 63% of New Zealand CEOs surveyed believe that the global economy will improve in the next 12 months, compared to just 44% globally.

Additionally, 89% were either somewhat or very confident of their revenue growth prospects in the coming twelve months.

Global mega trends will naturally have an impact on any growth opportunities.

CEOs, both in New Zealand and globally, identified technological advances (New Zealand 91%), demographic changes (New Zealand 74%) and shifts in global power (New Zealand 49%) as the three trends most likely to impact their business over the next five years.

New opportunities

Together, these trends will create many opportunities for innovation and growth, but they will also raise new challenges for traditional business models. Businesses without the ability to adapt and evolve will struggle in a world that is changing at such an unprecedented pace.

This speed of change means that CEOs are finding it increasingly difficult to commit to long-term planning horizons. While 77% of New Zealand CEOs who took part in the survey see five years as the ideal planning time horizon, most (43%) are currently working to a three-year plan.

The challenge

Another challenge identified by New Zealand CEOs is the balance between innovation and regulation. Most CEOs recognise the need for innovation to keep up with changes in customer behaviours and demands but see changes to the regulatory environment as significant inhibitors to growth.

About 71% of New Zealand CEOs were either somewhat or very concerned about the threat of over regulation to their organisation.

With so much change happening, a key challenge for CEOs is how they bring people along with them.

We are seeing big changes in the stakeholder environment. Businesses recognise that society, as a whole, needs to feel positive about an organisation. This means getting the balance right between making money, contributing to sustainable business practices, and generally being a good corporate citizen.

Tomorrow’s businesses need to think beyond traditional stakeholders such as customers, staff and investors and bring communities and the Government on board with their growth aspirations.

Bruce Hassall is the Chief Executive of Pricewaterhouse Coopers New Zealand based in Auckland.

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