Linda Urquhart said the Scottish economy was "relatively constrained" and that market share would not grow for some time in sectors such as law.
Ms Urquhart, who steps down as the chief executive of legal firm Morton Fraser in January, said: "Some of the bigger Scottish firms are now doing much of their work south of the Border. For Morton Fraser, it's still relatively small, but a growing percentage.
"This will be a continuing trend because of the drift in the Scottish economy and the loss of companies' headquarters or decision-making. There is a drift in the power-base (to London and England generally]. The Scottish economy is relatively constrained and if firms are to grow, they will have to look beyond Scottish boundaries."
Ms Urquhart, who completes her two-year term as CBI chairman in September 2011, added: "The banking crisis and recession was particularly difficult for Scotland. The change in perception of Scotland's banking community has been a difficult one to adjust to."