With fully 75 percent of respondents to a recent survey of chief financial officers expecting at least modest expansion in their local economies in 2011, business is back. Companies are therefore looking to expand their market share, with more than half of CFOs expecting increased spending on sales and marketing activities at their companies in 2011, and 34 percent seeing increased spending on travel for meetings with new or potential clients. (Spending on this type of travel will stay the same for 51 percent of respondents and decrease for 15 percent of respondents.)
The optimism is expressed in the fourth annual American Express/CFO Research Global Business and Spending Monitor, a global report prepared by CFO Research Services in collaboration with American Express. This year’s report is based on in-depth interviews with 26 senior finance executives from around the world and 665 completed surveys. Respondents were from the United States/Canada (37 percent), Asia/Australia (30 percent), Europe (24 percent), and Mexico/South America/Central America (8 percent).
But while more than one-third of CFOs are increasing business travel to clients, the numbers are lower for other types of business travel. For example, spending on travel for “industry conferences, management retreats, professional development, etc.” will increase this year for just under one-fifth of respondents, while nearly one-third expect to decrease spending on this type of travel.
Similarly, one-third of respondents see decreased spending on travel for “staff meeting or other internal business” while only 14 percent see that type of travel on the rise this year.
Overall, though, 41 percent of respondents say their companies will boost spending on business travel overall. And international travel spending will increase for 28 percent of respondents this year, perhaps because the rapidly recovering emerging markets represent the best source of new customers, the report notes.
The report shows that CFOs are more optimistic than they have been in years, with 75 percent expecting at least modest growth in their local economies in 2011. For more data, including where corporate spending is increasing and which countries expect the fastest growth, go to the American Express Web site to download the report.