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CFO Optimism

The hallmark of The CFO Survey is its optimism index—a measure of business sentiment that reflects firms’ optimism, on a scale of 0 to 100, for their own financial prospects and for the prospects of the U.S. economy.

CFOs’ Most Pressing Concerns

The CFO Survey tracks the top concerns of financial decision makers in order to provide insight into the challenges facing companies across the country.
Note: Percentages do not sum to 100 percent because respondents could share more than one concern. Only the top 10 concerns are listed.

CFOs’ Expectations for Their Firms’ Performance 

The CFO Survey asks financial decision makers about the changes they expect for their firms over the year ahead, including their revenue, prices, employment, wages, and non-wage compensation.

Source: Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook

Note: Data for March 2020 reflect results for 469 U.S. firms. The reported averages are weighted by revenue or number of employees, so that large firms are weighted more heavily. *Earnings growth is for public firms only. All other numbers are for all survey respondents (including private).

Historical Data and Information

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and CFO magazine previously conducted the Global Business Outlook by surveying CFOs of companies and subscribers of CFO magazine around the world each quarter. An archive of past surveys, including the most recent Q1-2020 results released on April 15, 2020, is available at

View Past Survey Reports

Download Historical Data


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