More than half of surveyed CFOs plan to expand their businesses internationally in the next year, according to the annual CFO Evolution Benchmark survey released by California accounting and business consulting firm ArmaninoLLP.
The survey, which included mostly California Bay Area CFOs answering questions about their financial expectations over the next several years, found that 33 percent of respondents plan to open offices in Asia, 26 percent are expecting to in Europe, 16 percent are looking to South America, 14 percent to Canada, and 9 percent to the Middle East.
Domestically, 60 percent of those CFOs said they should be expanding to up to five states in the U.S. in the next year.
"We are seeing a lot of growth activity --and forward thinking among Bay Area companies right now," said Matt Armanino, chief operating officer and partner of Armanino, in a statement. "Not only are our survey participants seeing opportunity in expanding nationally and internationally, but they are predicting an increase in M&A transactions and IPO activity than in the past."
The surveyed CFOs expect both Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to increase over the next three years, while almost 20 percent said their own company will file for an IPO. The number of IPOs filed in the first three quarters of 2013 has already eclipsed the total number in the entire year of 2012, and IPO activity increased 110 percent in the first nine months of this year, compared to the same time period of 2012.
In a year that saw $671 billion in M&A totals by the third quarter of 2013, more than half (51 percent) of respondents expect to participate in a M&A transaction by 2016.
"A lot of these growth and expansion patterns are the result of a new way of analyzing finance," stated Armanino. "We are seeing the rise of predictive analysis as a tool to help companies plan their next move. Additionally, many of these expanding companies see a need for the agility and nimbleness provided by a mobile technology solution."
Three quarters of CFOs reported that most of their financial analysis is based on historical data, while more than 87 percent said they need predictive data to meet demand. Respondents also want a 30 percent decrease in historical analysis to accommodate their need for a 20 percent increase in predictive analysis.
Meanwhile, half of the CFOs have already set up or plan to enact mobile reporting solutions in the next two years.
Armanino's 5th Annual CFO Benchmark Study, conducted in Q4 of 2013, was distributed to CEO, CFOs and other finance executives with a majority coming from the Western U.S. and approximately 82 percent from privately-owned or venture-back companies with projected year-end revenues of less than $100 million.
A copy of the survey is available here.