UK CFOs aim to reduce indirect spend

16 May 2012

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16 May 2012 | Adam Leach

Spending on travel and entertainment by UK businesses is set to fall in 2012 as CFOs tighten their grip on expenditure.

The American Express/CFO Research Global Business & Spending Monitor published yesterday, found UK executives are taking a more frugal approach to spending than their international counterparts. The findings, based on the responses of 541 senior finance executives across the world, revealed that 63 per cent of respondents aim to invest more to grow their business, whereas 53 per cent of UK respondents are looking to tightly control spending.

It discovered 63 per cent of UK finance chiefs expect to reduce expenditure on indirect line items such as travel and entertainment. A large number of finance chiefs are also eyeing cuts to spending on labour and staff, with 43 per cent predicting a reduction in spending.

“In the UK, senior finance executives seem to be playing the long game. The focus is more about tightly controlled spending and investment in areas that will preserve profitability, with modest spending to support top line growth,” said Brendan Walsh, senior vice president of commercial payment solutions at American Express Services Europe.

“This cautious and reserved approach also shows that UK CFOs have their eyes firmly fixed on the future, they are protecting their businesses now so they can quickly benefit from any upturn in the economy.”

While the study found there was only the one category of spend the majority of respondents were looking to reduce, there were a number where they are looking to keep the levels of spend the same. These included computer hardware (71 per cent), IT systems (63 per cent), transport and logistics (61 per cent) and production (61 per cent). Some 47 per cent expected spending on advertising, marketing, and PR to remain unchanged.

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