CFOs Across The Globe Forecast Growth for the Year Ahead According to American Express
MARKHAM, ON, June 24, 2014 /CNW/ - Canadian CFOs have an optimistic outlook when it comes to economic growth, according to the seventh annual American Express/CFO Research Global Business & Spending Monitor. The Monitor, which surveys senior finance executives from the U.S., Europe, Canada, Latin America, Asia and Australia, revealed CFOs have moved past the economic downturn and are focused on growth and spending to get ahead. Globally, the majority (72%) have reported plans for economic expansion over the next year.
In Canada, almost half (48%) of CFOs surveyed reported very good financial performance over the past year and 76 per cent expect to see expansion over the next 12 months, a 14 per cent rise from last year and a 53 per cent increase from 2009. This confidence also appears to translate into spending as 73 per cent of CFOs in Canada forecast moderate to aggressive spending and investment in the coming year.
"This year the regional differences across the globe have begun to converge and the overall outlook for 2014 is strong," says Paul Parisi, Vice President & General Manager, Global Corporate Payments, American Express Canada. "The Monitor indicates that Canadian CFOs are ready to invest, particularly in IT, in order to meet customer needs and improve efficiency and productivity."
Increased Importance on Information Technology and Process
From a global perspective, the study revealed spending priorities are varied, with an overall focus on entering new markets (72%), better meeting customer needs (71%) and pursuing business transformation and innovation (69%).
In Canada, however, CFOs are focused on investing in IT systems, and plan to increase spending notably in this area over the next year. The majority (50%) revealed that cloud computing would be the most critical IT spend, followed by technology consultants or outsourcing (43%). This is despite the fact that 86 per cent of those surveyed rate their current company's IT as ahead of or on par with other companies similar to theirs. Also, nearly half of respondents (47%) see the customer service value of IT and believe improvements to such systems will contribute the most to growth by improving their ability to meet customer needs.
"Another trend revealed in this year's study is the focus on process improvements", said Parisi. "Whether it's production based, marketing or decision-making, it's a clear priority given 73 per cent of Canadian CFOs believe good processes have helped their companies' performance."
Though nearly half (40%) of Canadian CFOs are working to improve process with a focus on sales and marketing improvement, American CFOs are less invested with only 28 per cent rating their process execution as good overall.
A Global Snapshot
Canadian finance executives aren't alone in demonstrating an increase in financial confidence. For the first time in years it appears that European economies are notably ready to leave the global recession behind, and now see opportunities for growth and expansion. European confidence this year surged, with 68 per cent of senior finance executives predicting economic expansion in their respective countries. This is an increase from last year's 48 per cent, which was the lowest percentage of respondents predicting expansion since 2009, the highest point of the recession.
Other countries also saw significant leaps in optimism - the percentage of respondents predicting economic expansion rose from 39 per cent to 62 per cent in France and Russia, while Spain jumped from 44 per cent to 69 per cent in 2014.
Companies from emerging1 markets remain focused on spending and investment for growth. This is despite some drops in economic expansion expectations reported this year. Respondents from India, Argentina, Brazil and China are among the most likely to say they plan to substantially increase spending and investment. In particular, India and China are leading the way, reporting higher-than-average increases in total spending and investment (17%).
In comparison, respondents from European economies tended to report lower-than-average increases in spending, despite the robust rise in economic optimism for the region.
In summary, senior finance executives this year are showing a greater tolerance for aggressive stances on spending and investment. Marking the growing sense of worldwide optimism, 17 per cent of respondents this year say they plan to pursue aggressive spending and investment plans, compared to just 10 per cent last year. What's more, only five per cent say they plan to decrease spending, down from 10 per cent last year.
"Overall it's an exciting time for CFOs across the globe who seem to have bounced back to where they were before the economic downturn," said Parisi. "In Canada, not only are the majority reporting financial strength, but spending is on the rise, which is great news for our market."
For the full American Express/CFO Research Global Business and Spending Monitor, visit http://about.americanexpress.com/news/.
About American Express Global Corporate Payments
American Express Corporate Payment Solutions provide the Corporate Card, Corporate Purchasing Solutions, and other expense management services to midsize companies and large corporations worldwide. In the U.S., American Express is a leading issuer of commercial cards, serving more than 70 percent of the Fortune 500, as well as tens of thousands of midsize companies. For more information, visit americanexpress.com/corporate.
About American Express in Canada
American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express charge and credit cards, with outstanding products like the American Express® Gold Rewards Card, and the American Express® AeroplanPlus® Gold Card. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast. For more information, visit AmericanExpress.ca or connect with us at Facebook.com/AmericanExpressCanada.
About CFO Research Services
CFO Research is the sponsored research group of CFO Publishing LLC, which produces CFO magazine, CFO.com, and CFO Conferences. CFO Publishing, a portfolio company of Seguin Partners, is the leading business-to-business media brand focused on the information needs of senior finance executives. CFO Publishing has long-standing relationships with more than 500,000 executives.
1 Emerging markets included in this survey are: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, China and India.
SOURCE: American Express
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