About the Survey

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and CFO magazine conduct the Global Business Outlook by surveying CFOs of companies and subscribers of CFO magazine around the world every March, June, September and December.


The survey questionnaire is delivered online to senior financial executives and subscribers of CFO magazine. During the 1996-2003 period, survey respondents included members of Financial Executives International. The sample includes CFOs from both public and private companies representing a broad range of industries, geographic areas and revenues. Among the industries represented are retail/wholesale, mining/construction, manufacturing, transportation/energy, communications/media, technology, and banking/finance/insurance.


Certain questions remain constant in each survey to capture trend data on corporate optimism, expected GDP growth, capital investment plans, and quarterly percentage changes in a variety of business categories. Revenue-weighted means are provided for earnings, capital spending, technology spending, advertising spending, inventory and prices of products. Employee-weighted means are used for productivity (output per hours worked), wages, number of employees and overtime.

Other questions change each quarter in order to examine topical economic issues and newsworthy business or political events that may affect the landscape of corporate finance.


The survey has been conducted every quarter since July 1996. An archive of past surveys is available under the “Past Results” tab at http://www.cfosurvey.org.