Recession tactics improved prospects, say finance executives

18 May 2010

18 May 2010 | Lindsay Clark

Senior finance officers believe the downturn has been good for business decision-making.

A global survey of 479 senior finance executives showed that 58 per cent agreed decisions their companies made during the downturn had actually improved their firms’ long-term prospects.

The American Express/CFO Research Global Business & Spending Monitor results also showed that 81 per cent of respondents in the UK have seen, or expect to see, a sustained increase in demand for their products and services by the third quarter of this year.

Executives say they are preparing now for the rise in demand. Thirty-six per cent of the UK respondents expect their companies will increase headcount this quarter.

Highlighting how the recession has changed their firms for the better, one survey respondent wrote that his firm has “reduced waste, runs more efficiently, and is more focused on its customers”. Another said his company has gained control over unwanted expenses and has increased other “more essential areas” of expenditure.

The research also provides insight into business leaders’ strategies over the next 24 months, with eight out of 10 UK finance directors saying their firms will focus closely on cost control.

UK finance executives said they plan to increase spending on business and professional services (42 per cent), advertising and marketing (32 per cent), labour (32 per cent) and enterprise-level IT systems (32 per cent).

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