SOURCE: Adaptive Planning

June 09, 2009 08:00 ET

Adaptive Planning and BPM Forum Poll Reveals We've Reached Bottom in Downturn and Expect Economy to Improve

Quarterly Survey of Corporate Financial Pros Shows Increasing Optimism, but High Levels of Economic Uncertainty Continue to Drive Frequent Re-Planning and Re-Forecasting

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - June 9, 2009) - Fifty-three percent of company financial professionals say conditions are worse now than six months ago, a marked improvement compared with the 86 percent who reported so three months ago. And 48 percent expect conditions to improve in next six months, over three times as many who said so last quarter, according to the results of an online Performance and Planning poll released today by Adaptive Planning and the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum.

These and other findings point to indications that the economy is bottoming out, according to company financial experts. The vast majority of respondents expect the economy to begin to recover within the next year, with 37 percent predicting the turnaround to start in 2009 and a further 44 percent predicting a recovery beginning in the first half of 2010.

The study also shows improvements in growth expectations over the next six months, with 50 percent predicting revenue growth (versus 18 percent last quarter), and 34 percent seeing growth in profit margins (versus only 5 percent last quarter).

Recovery is a mixed picture though, as expenditures and headcount are still lagging and will likely fall further. Capital spending growth plans have improved only slightly from last quarter's survey (20 percent see growth in the next six months versus 14 percent in the last survey). In addition, a full 40 percent expect further cuts in capital spending over the next six months, and a third still predict further staff reductions.

Despite the improved recovery timeframe, financial professionals are still experiencing significant economic uncertainty, driving elevated levels of re-planning and re-forecasting -- with more re-planning and what-ifs expected going forward. In fact, a majority of companies missed their revenue plan last quarter. Similar to the previous quarter, 28 percent re-planned, re-forecasted, or created what-if scenarios three or more times last quarter -- twice as many as did so in Q4 of 2008. And 50 percent expect to perform even more re-planning and what-if analyses going forward.

"We are encouraged that corporate financial professionals are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but they still need help to manage through what appears to be the trough of the downturn," said William A. Soward, CEO of Adaptive Planning. "Regardless of whether companies are preparing for expected growth or further decline, there remains significant uncertainty as to what the near future holds, so better and more frequent scenario planning is required to make better forecasts and decisions."

In terms of growth obstacles, demand for goods and services continues to top the list of key concerns, with access to credit and financial market stability remaining as the number two choice. Nearly two thirds of respondents expect little impact from government programs, a slightly more positive sentiment than last quarter's results.

Among the top leading indicators of economic recovery were unemployment rates and the stock market, both of which have been in flux recently and add to the levels of uncertainty that budgeting and planning professionals face.

The online poll surveyed financial professionals from companies in over twenty industries and ranging in size from under $10 million to over $1 billion in revenues, with 56 percent categorized as midsized or large companies (more than 100 employees). This is the third quarterly poll examining perspectives on key economic conditions, individual company performance, and the role of planning and forecasting in the current economic downturn.

The Planning and Performance poll will be conducted once per quarter and the results tallied against those of previous quarters to identify trends in overall economic conditions and planning practices. For more information on the summary report of the findings, visit http://marketing.adaptiveplanning.com/forms/ppindex.

About the BPM Forum

The Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum is dedicated to advancing performance accountability, process improvement, operational visibility and compliance in global organizations. It provides support to thousands of senior executives and practitioners representing enterprises with more than $500 billion in combined annual revenues. The BPM Forum's C-level members engage in research, thought leadership, and knowledge exchange programs around a variety of strategic issues and challenges. More information is available at: www.BPMForum.org

About Adaptive Planning

Adaptive Planning is the worldwide leader in on-demand financial planning and reporting solutions that improve operational efficiency, strengthen companywide collaboration, and drive better business decisions in companies of all sizes. Adaptive Planning makes it easy to move beyond spreadsheets and automate budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and "what-if" analysis, without the cost and complexity associated with traditional business intelligence and BPM software. With free software, free trials, and both on-demand and on-premise deployment options, Adaptive Planning is the fastest and easiest way for finance organizations to enhance their agility and strategic value. Adaptive Planning is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif. and can be reached at 650-528-7500 or www.adaptiveplanning.com.

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