The latest Duke University / CFO Global Business Outlook quarterly results were just release. The survey has been conducted for 79 consecutive quarters and spans the globe, making it the world's longest-running and most comprehensive research on senior finance executives. As such, it’s a very good barometer of gauging short-term plans and priorities for CFOs as well as their companies overall.
Here are some of the key results from the CFO survey:
U.S. firms will increase capital spending 2.6 percent in 2016
Research & development (R&D) spending will increase slightly more than 3 percent
"While weak business spending may give the Fed pause in the timing and magnitude of pending rate hikes, CFOs have indicated that a small interest rate increase will not derail spending plans."
For companies that expect to accelerate spending, investment areas include repositioning of their company, replacing obsolete equipment, implementing new technology and growth expansion strategies.
Two-thirds of firms are planning to hire more employees in 2016, with an average increase of about 2 percent.
Additional employee hiring will be strongest in the professional services, consulting, retail, wholesale and construction industries. The manufacturing industry is expected to reduce its employee base by 1 percent.
"Technology-enabled process improvement has been a focus for a lot of firms over the last several years," said David W. Owens, editorial director for CFO Research, "but finance executives are clear that they believe even more gains are needed."