Finance execs make predictions for 2010

More than 90% of the nation’s leading financial experts believe the economy’s ready to bounce back big in 2010. And a new CFO Magazine study reveals where finance execs think we’re headed next year.

The study, conducted with help from the Duke School of Business, polled nearly 700 high-level finance execs across multiple industries to determine how optimistic they were about their company’s prospects in 2010.

Perhaps the most notable finding was that almost 60% of finance execs are more confident about the economy now than they were as recently as three months ago. In addition:

  • 50% are optimistic about their own company’s prospects to bounce back in the months ahead
  • CFOs – on average – expect profits to increase more than 3% in the upcoming quarter, in comparison to three months ago, when CFOs were predicting a 4% drop in profits
  • CFOs expect capital spending at their companies to drop by 3% over the next 12 months, which is actually a dramatic leap from the 11.5% drop CFOs were predicting a year ago, and
  • Most CFOs expect to budget more money for marketing, R&D and salaries during the next year, which may provide an opportunity for sales organizations to capitalize.

So what worries top execs the most about 2010?

Extremely tight credit and a continuing lack of consumer demand, which means any b-to-b organization that’s looking to position itself effectively needs to focus on how its products and services can help prospects increase that demand.

Some other not-so-great revelations from the study:

  • More than 50% of those surveyed claim the credit crunch is having an adverse effect on their ability to do business
  • Another 50% don’t believe their company will do any significant hiring in the year ahead, and
  • Almost a quarter of execs don’t believe their staff will ever rebound to pre-recession levels.

While it may sound like a mixed bag at best, the major takeaway is the majority of CFOs nationwide are feeling optimistic about what lies ahead, which means more opportunities for b-to-b companies to do business.

SourceCFOs Grow More Optimistic but Remain Weary,” by Cari Tuna, Wall Street Journal, 9/17/09.

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