Daily News: February 28, 2013

FEI/Baruch Survey: CFO Economic, Business Optimism Improves

According to the most recent quarterly survey conducted by Financial Executives International (FEI) and Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, Chief Financial Officers entered 2013 with improved optimism toward the global and U.S. economies and their businesses, though most still believe a recovery is more than a year out. While they still carry the burden of concerns around increasing revenue and controlling expenses, their capital spending is at a normal rate and they are not making drastic cuts to their workforce.

The “CFO Outlook Survey,” which polls CFOs of public and private businesses in the U.S. and Europe (Italy and France) on their economic and business confidence and expectations, found that CFOs were more confident than where they stood last quarter. The quarterly optimism index for U.S. CFOs toward their own businesses increased to 69.50 (from 62.7 in the third quarter). Their confidence in the global economy jumped eight points to 52.2, from its near survey low in November 2012 (44.2).

U.S. CFOs also reported increased optimism in the U.S. economy this quarter, moving five points to 56.7 (from 51.6 in Q3).This quarter, CFOs in the EU demonstrated improved optimism in these areas from last quarter as well — their confidence in the global economy rose six points to 51.30 (from 45.2 in Q3), and confidence in their own businesses saw a slight increase (57.50 from 55.70 in Q3).

U.S. CFOs continued to forecast higher projections for their business than did their European counterparts, with the highest increases in the areas of capital spending (17%) and technology spending (11%) over the next 12 months. In the U.S., CFOs are also anticipating a nearly 10% rise in net earnings and revenue. European CFOs on average expect more subtle increases in these areas, with the highest increases in revenue (4%) and net earnings (3%).

For full survey results and historical data comparisons click here.