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Duke University CFO Global Business Outlook - Q4 2015 & 2016 Plans

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

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."

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