Financial officers in Irish companies are feeling more optimistic about the future, a survey has found.
The Deloitte Spring Irish and European Chief Financial Officer (CFO) survey examined the sentiment of 1,366 CFOs based in 16 countries.
The survey heard from 75 CFOs in Irish businesses across multiple sectors - including manufacturing, construction and retail.
It found the number one concern for CFOs was being able to find and keep skilled workers.
The optimism in the survey is reflected in a greater number of CFOs forecasting hiring more employees.
Some 42% of Irish CFOs are predicting an 'increase significantly' or 'increase somewhat' of employees - which is higher than 35% in the rest of Europe, and a 22% increase in Irish CFOs from the last survey in the autumn.
'Taking greater risks'
Some 33% of surveyed Irish CFOs are feeling more optimistic or significantly more optimistic about the financial prospects of their company, up 21% from six months ago.
Some Irish CFOs are translating that into taking a greater risk on their balance sheets, with 15% of those polled viewing it as a good time to take a risk - a 10% increase from the last survey.
The survey suggests some of this optimism could be driven by Irish finance leaders expecting the inflation rate to decline from 8.4%, in the autumn survey, to 6.37% in Ireland over the next 12 months.
The optimism could also be because of an expectation that revenues and operating margins will increase 'significantly or somewhat' in the next 12 months.
Daniel Gaffney, Partner and CFO Programme Lead, said the optimistic views are based on expected growth.
"While an uncertain economic future and the cost-of-living crisis has made the past six months challenging for businesses, there are plenty of positive indicators in this survey," he said.
"The anticipated growth in revenues and operating margins, a drop in the inflation rate, as well as Ireland continuing to offer a skilled workforce, are all strong reasons for an optimistic outlook.
"This anticipated increase, higher than Europe overall, shows the continued growth of the Irish economy and the confidence organisations place in doing business here.
"This survey also provides useful insight into how Ireland can better prepare our workforce to meet the organisational needs of companies investing in digital finance transformation and ESG reporting," he added.