While many American companies are wringing their hands over everything from the fiscal cliff to Obamacare, a surprising segment of the population appears to be quite optimistic about the future: Chief Financial Officers. A recent survey sponsored by American Express shows that CFOs are surprisingly upbeat (and contradictory in some respects) about what 2013 holds in store for business, and much of the news bodes well for expansion of cloud-based expense management, e-procurement and other services.
Approximately 52 percent of responding CFOs felt certain that the fiscal cliff issue would not be resolved before the end of the year, with 79 percent believing the surge in taxes would have a negative impact on their companies. Despite that, CFOs remain optimistic about how their own companies are likely to fare in 2013 even as they express concern over America’s economic outlook as well as that of key markets across the globe, most notably in Europe. 84 percent of respondents felt confident that their own companies would reach goals set for 2013.
If business travelers are wondering whether this means 2013 will be a busy year for them, indicators point to “yes.” 61 percent of CFOs expect to spend the same amount or more on business travel in the coming year, in an effort to support building new business and maintaining existing relationships. Though business travel investment will remain steady, 64 percent anticipate stricter controls on spending in an effort to reduce costs. This is likely to prompt further expansion of cloud-based expense report software as more companies rely on technology to red-flag inappropriate spending and help enforce travel policies.
“Road warriors can expect to keep visiting new prospects and current customers in 2013 because these are the kinds of trips that drive sales,” said Darryl Brown, President, Global Corporate Payments – Americas, American Express. “Businesses will be looking to manage their travel programs with a focus on holding down costs through negotiated discount rates and a strategic emphasis on high value trips.”