CFOs Tell AmEx They'll Spend More on Business Travel, Meetings This Year

Because many of them are sitting on large cash surpluses, companies in the United States and around the world are prepared to invest more money in strategic growth this year — including business travel and meetings — according to senior finance executives, who revealed increased economic optimism in American Express and CFO Research Services' latest "Global Business & Spending Monitor," released yesterday.

"Finance executives are finally moving away from budget cuts and opening up the company coffers to drive growth," said Janey Whiteside, senior vice president, Global Client Group, American Express Corporate Payment Solutions. "We will see a frothier deal-making environment and greater spending to win and retain customers as businesses jockey for position in a recovering economy."

According to American Express, 79 percent of U.S. finance executives expect modest to strong economic expansion over the next 12 months, with 54 percent of them expecting economic growth to accelerate by the end of 2011.

Recognizing the connection between business travel and revenue growth, 41 percent of finance executives around the world plan to spend more on travel this year, up from just 26 percent in 2010. Overall, 64 percent of respondents will spend the same or more on business travel in 2011, and one in 10 will increase spending by 10 percent or more.

Spending will be most robust on international travel, with 28 percent of finance executives planning to spend more on international travel, versus 20 percent who plan to spend more on domestic travel.

It's not just travel, either: More than one-third (34 percent) of finance executives also plan to increase spending on meetings with new or potential clients.

For complete findings — which include CFO forecasting about cash flow, mergers and acquisitions, business development, hiring and more — download the full American Express/CFO Research "Global Business & Spending Monitor" at