Although our most recent Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey (published in October and based on data collected in early September) found CFO optimism falling back to 2008 levels of gloom, a spot check seven weeks later found a smaller sample of senior finance executives much more upbeat.
At our annual CFO Rising West conference, held during the final week of October in Las Vegas, several hundred finance leaders gathered to hear a range of speakers spell out strategies for 2011. We surveyed nearly 100 of the attendees on their expectations for next year, and found them to be almost universally positive (and this was before the complementary wine bar opened).
Among some of the notable results: respondents expect to increase their spending on product development, marketing, and IT by an average of 8.5% next year, while spending to improve business processes (including the finance function itself) will grow by 6%. (For much more on CFOs' specific strategies for growth in 2011, see "The Coast Is Clearing.") Below, some other results: