Three in 10 UAE CFOs concerned about available cash flow within their business

08 July 2013
  • Managing the balance sheets (29%) and access to investment financing (29%) also primary concerns
  • Nearly half (45%) cite customer/client insolvencies as the main reason for cash flow problems

Dubai, 8 July, 2013 – Cash flow remains a significant concern for a large number of UAE CFOs, according to new research from leading recruitment specialist Robert Half UAE.  Nearly three in 10 (29%) CFOs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai said cash flow was one of the biggest internal concerns they currently face in their role. This was tied with managing the balance sheets and access to investment financing, both also at 29%.

When asked which three factors contributed to their concerns around cash flow, nearly half (45%) of CFOs cited customer/client insolvencies as the main reason. Following closely behind, more than four in 10 (41%) blame competitive pricing/low margins, slow paying customers, higher business expenditures and lower revenue, respectively.

James Sayer, Director, Robert Half UAE said: “Cash flow clearly remains a priority for finance leaders, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who rely heavily on liquid capital to keep business running as usual. With SMEs contributing to the UAE’s fiscal growth, job creation and economic well-being, it is essential for these organisations to be supported to keep the economy on track.”

75 Dubai and Abu Dhabi-based CFOs were asked: ‘What three factors have contributed towards your concerns around cash flow?’

Customer / client insolvencies 45%
Competitive pricing / low margins 41%
Slow paying customers 41%
Higher business expenditures 41%
Lower revenue 41%
Difficulty securing financing 32%
Higher cost of short-term financing 23%
Higher taxes 23%
R&D / new product development 9%
Rapid growth / new investment opportunities 5%

While nearly one in three (32%) finance leaders are concerned over access to investment financing as a contributing factor to their cash flow concerns, and a further one in four (23%) citing the higher cost of short-term financing, CFOs offer their insights on the factors making it difficult for companies to secure credit and finance. At that top of this list is perceived exposure to bad debt and risk (33%) as the chief barrier to securing financing. This is followed by a poor credit rating (29%) and operating in a perceived risky or depressed industry (27%).

Sayer concludes: “Access to financing has prompted cash flow concerns for one in three businesses which may be exacerbated if financial institutions fail to provide the necessary funds to the SME market.  Companies need to ensure they have the right talent in place to provide prudent financial management, making their businesses as attractive as possible for lending institutions.”



Notes to editors

About the Survey

1 The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 75 finance directors / CFOs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The survey was conducted in December 2012.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. Founded in 1948, the company has over 350 offices worldwide providing permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and human resources professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and job seeker resources at

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