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May 15, 2020

Duke University, Richmond and Atlanta Feds to Partner on The CFO Survey

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta today announce a collaborative effort to gather valuable information from business decision-makers across the nation.

The CFO Survey builds upon the renowned Global Business Outlook, a quarterly survey of financial decision-makers Fuqua has administered since 1996.

The hallmark of The CFO Survey is its CFO Optimism Index—a measure of business sentiment, drawn directly from business leaders, which reflects their optimism for their firms’ financial prospects and those of the overall U.S. economy. Business leaders in all industries are asked about their most pressing concerns, their expectations for their firms’ performance and their expectations for the performance of the U.S. economy in the year ahead. The CFO Survey tracks business sentiment each quarter, and experts from the Richmond and Atlanta Feds and Fuqua will analyze where, how and why shifts may have occurred.

“This joint effort leverages the expertise of Duke faculty and the participating Federal Reserve Banks in survey design, methodology, and analysis to produce an enhanced version of the survey,” said John Graham, a Fuqua finance professor who has facilitated the original survey since its inception.

“This tool will allow us to deliver real-time economic data to policymakers, business decision-makers, academic researchers, and the public at a particularly relevant time, as our nation navigates unprecedented economic challenges,” said Tom Barkin, president of the Richmond Fed.

Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic concurred.

“Decision-makers who take part in this survey will help guide our understanding of the direction of the economy and better inform the policymaking process,” Bostic said. “CFOs, small business owners, accountants, and controllers can offer valuable insight in the context of broader economic issues, including unexpected events such as the spread of the novel coronavirus. Now more than ever, their real-time outlook is important.”

The first quarterly results of The CFO Survey are scheduled to be released the second week of July 2020.

To learn more about this innovative partnership, visit

As part of our nation’s central bank, the Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks working together with the Board of Governors to support a healthy economy and deliver on our mission to foster economic stability and strength. We connect with community and business leaders across the Fifth Federal Reserve District — including the Carolinas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia — to monitor economic conditions, address issues facing our communities, and share this information with monetary and financial policymakers. We also work with banks to ensure they are operating safely and soundly, supply financial institutions with currency that’s fit for distribution, and provide a safe and efficient way to transfer funds through our nation’s payments system.


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