SOURCE: Adaptive Planning

March 03, 2010 08:00 ET

"Double-Dip" Recession and Jobless Recovery Predicted by Financial Executives

Despite Some Dour Predictions, Most Companies Report Increasing Optimism; Company-Specific Growth Plans Reveal Brighter Outlook

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - March 3, 2010) -  Fears of a "double-dip" recession have increased, with more than half of financial executives predicting another downturn, and most expecting jobs recovery to lag into 2011. However, at the same time they are increasingly optimistic about the state of the economy, particularly in the midsized business sector. These results are part of the findings of a quarterly poll of financial executives conducted in February 2010 by Adaptive Planning and the Business Performance Management Forum.

The Q1 2010 Business Volatility and Variables Survey revealed that 51 percent predict a "W-shaped" recovery, up from 46 percent a quarter ago, and 72 percent expect that a recovery will not occur until the second half of 2010 or later. Additionally, 67 percent expect that a meaningful improvement in jobs will not occur until 2011 or beyond. 

But respondents also reported increasing optimism. The survey's index of current conditions, which compares current economic conditions with those of six months ago, increased to 52.25 from 44.50 in October of 2009. This marked the third consecutive quarterly increase and the first time that the index reflected a more positive than negative outlook.

Additionally, respondents have brighter expectations for their companies than they do for the overall economy. More than half (55 percent) expect revenue growth for their company over the next six months, while 25 percent expect to add jobs -- more than the 17 percent that project jobs growth from the broader economy in the next two quarters. 

A number of factors indicate that small and midsized companies could lead the way out of the recession. Employee growth expectations in the next six months are about three times higher in the small (31 percent) and midsized (27 percent) company sectors than for large organizations (only 10 percent). And midsized organizations are much more upbeat about the future, with 49 percent expecting economic improvements in the next six months versus only 34 percent of large companies.

Consistent with previous quarterly results, overall economic uncertainty remains high, particularly with smaller companies (61 percent) and midsized companies (50 percent) versus large organizations (39 percent). Nearly half (49 percent) came in under their revenue plan last quarter, though some of this was offset by lower than expected expenses (36 percent). Economic uncertainty and ongoing underperformance versus plans continue to drive an increased need for frequent scenario planning and what-if analysis, with 59 percent expecting to do so more often next quarter.

"Taken together, these results illustrate an extremely mixed outlook for both the economy and corporate performance over the foreseeable future," said William A. Soward, CEO of Adaptive Planning. "While there are downside risks from a possible double-dip recession, there is also the potential for upside surprises, given the fact that the company-specific outlook is brighter than that for the overall economy. In either case, the successful companies will be those that are able to plan for multiple scenarios, closely monitor their actual performance, and respond quickly to changes in their business and operating environments."

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 fifth quarterly poll examining perspectives on key economic conditions, individual company performance, and the role of planning and forecasting in the current economic downturn.

The poll is conducted quarterly and the results are compared 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 Variables_Report_Q1_2010.pdf.

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:

About Adaptive Planning
Adaptive Planning is the leader in on-demand budgeting, forecasting, and reporting solutions that streamline financial management, improve collaboration, and drive better business decisions in companies of all sizes. By offering affordable annual subscriptions and rapid implementations, and by eliminating the need for new hardware or IT support, Adaptive Planning makes it easy to move beyond spreadsheet-based processes without the cost and complexity associated with traditional business intelligence (BI) and business performance management (BPM) applications. Available both on-demand and on-premise, Adaptive Planning allows finance leaders and management teams to make better-informed decisions, execute with agility and discipline, and ultimately improve competitiveness. Adaptive Planning is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif. and can be reached at 650-528-7500 or

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