Bold leadership for a sustainable future: Mazars C-suite barometer 2023

Our latest C-suite barometer shows that, while recognising the significant challenges of the past year, including inflation and economic instability, high energy prices, war and geopolitical tensions, leaders have a fighting spirit and positive outlook for 2023. Technology and sustainability stand out as their top two strategic priorities for the coming three to five years, with the C-suite investing in these areas to ensure their business is fit for tomorrow.

Our research reveals:

  • Optimism in the face of ongoing challenges: Despite economic instability, growing energy prices and geopolitical tensions, most executives are optimistic about future growth. 86% have a positive outlook for growth in 2023.
  • Trends impacting businesses in 2023: The external trends expected to have the biggest impact on businesses this year are: economic trends, including inflation and higher cost of living; energy prices and/or shortages; and the emergence of new technologies.
  • Confidence responding to trends: Overall confidence is slightly below last year but up on 2020 research according to the Mazars Confidence Index. Leaders are most confident in their ability to manage emerging technologies (54% very confident) and least confident coping with geopolitical instability (23% very confident), energy prices/shortages (27%), scarcity of talent (32%) and economic trends (33%) – these are also considered the main barriers to company growth.  
  • Embracing a digital world: Transforming company IT/technology is the top strategic priority for leaders over the coming three to five years. The emergence of new technology is expected to have a big impact on their business and they recognise the importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, big data and Web3. Cyber threats remain an everyday reality but leaders are confident their data is protected.
  • Investing in a sustainable future: A new or revised sustainability strategy is second on the list of strategic priorities for the coming three to five years, and over two thirds (68%) say they plan to increase investment in sustainability initiatives in the coming year, signifying the importance of ESG on the C-suite agenda. Most businesses (65%) produce a sustainability report, but admit data quality and tracking can be challenging, and just over a third (36%) feel totally ready for new ESG reporting requirements.
  • Recognising the importance of diversity and talent: A quarter of leaders say a new or revised talent attraction and retention strategy is a strategic priority, with nearly a third (28%) identifying the inability to attract a skilled workforce as a barrier to their company’s growth. Despite acknowledging the importance of a diverse workforce, true equity remains elusive in many companies, with little progress in terms of gender diversity among top decision-makers.

Conducted in Q4 of 2022, the Mazars C-suite barometer is based on insight from more than 800 executives from 27 countries around the world to understand the opportunities and challenges they are facing.

Mazars Partner, Christopher Cicutto highlights trends for privately owned business commenting, "Privately owned businesses are optimistic about their growth outlook for 2023, with increased annual revenue compared to the previous year. Prioritising transforming information technology, cost reduction, and sustainability strategies, privately owned businesses are confident in their data protection capabilities and familiar with new technologies.”

He notes that despite challenges, privately owned businesses are adapting to remote working and taking steps towards sustainable growth.

Download the Mazars 2023 C-suite barometer report below to find out more.

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Published: 19/04/2023

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