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2013 CFO Outlook: Investing In Growth, Looking To Expand

Stocks in this article: AXP

With an eye toward seizing opportunities in 2013, a majority of senior finance executives in the U.S. plan to invest in their companies to drive growth and expect to achieve higher revenues and profits next year. In fact, a new American Express survey of 200 U.S. CFOs and senior finance executives finds a notable disparity between companies’ brighter view of their own prospects and concerns about sluggish economic growth in the U.S. and in key regions around the world, including the UK and Europe.

Clearly, the potential impact of the so-called “fiscal cliff” looms large, with 52% of senior finance executives predicting that negotiations will not be resolved by the end of 2012. If the combination of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board government spending cuts takes effect in 2013, 79% of senior finance executives expect an impact on their companies’ growth plans.

“CFOs are continuing to shift from a defensive posture toward making smart, savvy investments so they can compete and grow,” said Darryl Brown, President, Global Corporate Payments – Americas, American Express. “It’s encouraging to see that companies expect revenues and profits to expand and plan to spend in areas like new product development, laying the foundation for stronger growth in the future.”

2013: A Growth Opportunity for Businesses

Senior finance executives report positive sentiments for their own companies, even though they harbor continued concern for the U.S. economy in 2013. Three in five senior finance executives (59%) are prioritizing investments in growth – in contrast with just 37% that are focused on saving money in order to protect the bottom line.

Senior finance executives also report a healthy revenue and profit outlook. Three in four respondents (75%) anticipate revenue growth for their own companies in 2013, and 69% expect increased profits. They are also confident they will reach their goals: 84% of senior finance executives are certain their companies will achieve what they set out to accomplish in 2013.

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