Duke University/CFO
Business Outlook Survey
Winter 2007

No individual firms are identified and only aggregate data are made public. Please respond by Wednesday, February 28. If you have any questions about this survey, please contact us.

1. Are you more or less optimistic about the U.S. economy compared to last quarter?
More optimistic
Less optimistic
No change
Rate your optimism about the U.S. economy on a scale from 0-100, with 0 being the least optimistic and 100 being the most optimistic.

2. Are you more or less optimistic about the financial prospects for your company compared to last quarter?
More optimistic
Less optimistic
No change
Rate your optimism about the financial prospects for your own company on a scale from 0-100, with 0 being the least optimistic and 100 being the most optimistic.

3. What are the top three concerns your corporation faces? (rank #1, #2, #3)
   Cost of labor (wages, salaries, bonuses)
   Cost of fuel
   Cost of non-fuel commodities
   Health care costs
   Interest rates
   Regulation
   Political stability
   Skilled labor shortage
   Consumer demand
   Currency values
   Foreign competition
   Terrorism
   Other:    

4. Relative to the previous 12 months, what will be your company's PERCENTAGE CHANGE during the next 12 months? (e.g., +3%, -2%, etc.) [Leave blank if not applicable]
   % Prices of your products
   % Productivity (output per hour worked)
   % Technology spending
   % Capital spending
   % Marketing/advertising spending
   % Number of domestic employees
   % Number of foreign/off-shore
                      outsourced employees
   % Wages/Salaries
   % Health care costs
   % Earnings
   % Inventory
   % Cash on the balance sheet
   % Dividends

    M&A activity

5. In today's economy, some firms are emphasizing labor, while others are emphasizing capital spending. For your firm, at the present time, does labor or capital spending offer the greatest “bang for the buck”?
  Labor
  Capital spending
  About the same
  Not applicable
Why? (please explain your choice)

6a. Compared to your level of optimism, is the CEO of your company more or less optimistic about the financial prospects of your own company?
  Our CEO is more optimistic than I am
  Our CEO is less optimistic than I am
  Our CEO's optimism is about the same as mine
  Don't know
 

6b. If different, why do you think your CEO's optimism differs from yours? (check main reasons)
  CEO has some information that I do not have
  CEO knows less about nuts and bolts of operations than I do
  CEO has more of a long-run/big picture view than I do
  CEOs are expected to project an optimistic view to employees and customers
  CEOs are, by nature, more optimistic about most things
  Other:    

7. CFOs are spending less time in one job before moving on than they did a few years ago. Why do you think length of time in the CFO job has fallen?
  Increased compliance work makes the job tedious
  Pressure from the CEO and board makes the job difficult
  CFOs are being given less time to deliver results
  CFOs are making more money and are retiring earlier or moving on to other things
  There are more opportunities to move to other companies
  Other:    

8. In your experience, do C-level executives avoid/change investments or projects that have payoff horizons that are longer than they expect to stay in their jobs?
  Yes, often
  Yes, sometimes
  Never

9a. The SEC has adopted new disclosure rules for executive pay that take effect in the current proxy season. Have those new rules caused your company to change its compensation policy in any way, or do you expect changes in the near future?
  Yes, we will change (or have changed) our compensation policy this fiscal year
  Yes, we will change our compensation policy (but not this fiscal year)
  No change expected
  Don't know
  If yes, will the change in compensation …(choose all that apply)
  Reduce the level of compensation relative to last year
  Reduce the rate of growth in compensation relative to last year
  Change the type of compensation relative to last year
  Increase compensation for some executives
 

9b. Do you expect to increase, decrease, or leave the same, the use of the following elements related to executive compensation?
  Decrease No Change Increase NA / DK
Salary
Bonus
Stock options
Restricted stock
Executive pension/retirement benefits
Deferred Compensation
Perks
Personal income tax gross-up payments
Payments to departing executives
Other:    

10. On February 19, 2007 the annual yield on 10-yr treasury bonds was 4.7%. Please complete the following:

a. Over the next 10 years, I expect the average annual S&P 500 return will be:


Worst Case: There is a 1-in-10
chance the actual average
return will be less than:

             %
Best Guess:
I expect the
return to be:

%
Best Case: There is a 1-in-10
chance the actual average
return will be greater than:

          %

b. During the next year, I expect the S&P 500 return will be:

Worst Case: There is a 1-in-10
chance the actual return will
be less than:

             %
Best Guess:
I expect the
return to be:

%
Best Case: There is a 1-in-10
chance the actual return will
be greater than:

          %

Please check one from each category that best describes your company:

     a. Industry

       Retail/Wholesale
       Mining/Construction
       Manufacturing
       Transportation/Energy
       Communications/Media
      Tech [Software/Biotech]
      Banking/Finance/Insurance
      Service/Consulting
      Healthcare/Pharmaceutical
      Other  
  b. Sales Revenue  c. Number of Employees
       Less than $25 million
       $25-$99 million
       $100-$499 million
       $500-$999 million
       $1-$4.9 billion
       $5-$9.9 billion
       More than $10 billion
      Fewer than 100
      100-499
      500-999
      1,000-2,499
      2,500-4,999
      5,000-9,999
      More than 10,000
  d. Headquarters   e. Ownership
       Northeast U.S.
       Mountain U.S.
       Midwest U.S.
       South Central U.S.
       South Atlantic U.S.
       Pacific U.S.
 Canada
 Central/Latin America
 Europe
 Asia
      Public, NYSE
      Public, NASDAQ/AMEX
      Private
      Government
      Nonprofit
  f. Foreign Sales   g. Your job title (e.g., CFO, Asst. Treasurer, etc)
       0%
       1-24%
       25-50%
       More than 50%

      

  h. Our fiscal year ends in:

          choose month
 


© Duke University, 2007