CFOs to spend on travel to drive growth: AmEx

Senior finance executives around the world report that they will direct resources to business travel spending that can drive revenue growth, according to the fifth annual American Express/CFO Research Global Business & Spending Monitor.

Key findings from the new survey of 541 senior finance executives include: 

•  Holding the line: A majority of senior finance execs (58%) will spend the same or more on business travel over the next 12 months. 
•  Customers are key: Nearly nine in 10 senior finance execs (88%) will spend the same or more on travel to meet with current or prospective customers. Of this group, 38% are likely to spend more.
•  U.S. strength: The United States reports an even stronger outlook for business travel; 71% will spend the same or more on business travel over the next 12 months (vs. 58% globally).

Overall, 64% of senior finance executives continue to express optimism about economic growth, although their outlook is tempered from the previous two years.

Finance executives continue to be optimistic about the economy. This year, 64% report expectations for modest to substantial expansion over the next 12 months, but that’s lower than in 2011 and 2010 (when 75% and 71% of all respondents anticipated economic expansion, respectively).

Worldwide, the outlook for economic expansion among the countries covered by this study was brightest in India at 86%, followed by the U.S. at 78%, Germany at 74%, Mexico at 73%, Argentina at 70%, Australia at 69% and Canada at 67%.

In terms of when the global economy will gain greater strength, 46% of the world’s finance executives believe that “robust” economic growth will return in their countries by the end of 2012.

Countries where finance executives are most bullish include Hong Kong, where 83% of respondents expect their local economy to return to robust growth by the fourth quarter of 2012, followed by Mexico at 77% and Germany at 66%.

Respondents in the U.S. and the U.K. report a more extended growth horizon. 75% of U.S. finance executives and 58% of U.K. finance executives see robust growth returning at some point after the close of 2012.

Finance executives are also setting a higher bar for their own companies’ growth. 60% have set more aggressive growth targets compared with 2011. Although a quarter of respondents report that they are “very confident” that their companies will meet their growth targets in 2012, 56% of respondents are only “somewhat confident” that their companies will meet their targets, while 16% are “not very confident” in their companies’ ability to meet their targets.

For the full report, click on this link.