A study by Deloitte has found that the majority of Australian Chief Financial Officers are more optimistic about the prospects for their companies now than they were three months ago, and are more willing to take risks.


Around 54% of respondents to Deloitte’s quarterly survey said that their confidence in their business’s performance had improved in the last three months.


Eighty per cent also believed that their company's operating cash flow would increase over the next year.


For the first time in four quarters, more than half (52%) believe it is now good time to take increased financial risks. 61% said they were planning to increase capital expenditure this year, and just over a quarter planned to increase capital expenditure by over 20% in 2011 compared to the prior year.


“Despite a number of shocks at home and abroad, CFOs are enjoying a period of good performance and this is contributing to increased confidence and a renewed appetite for risk,” Deloitte COO Keith Skinner said.


Mergers and acquisitions activity is also expected to increase with a just over half of the surveyed CFOs saying they were likely to pursue deals in the next year. However, organic growth will still be the main source of business growth.


While 84% of respondents believe the introduction of a price on carbon would make Australia less competitive globally, only 52% predicted a negative impact to their own company's financial performance.