Despite slow economic growth, CFOs expect steady and conservative IT spending going forward in 2012 and 2013, according to a new survey of CFOs.

Gartner's “Financial Executives International CFO Technology Study” found that 60 percent of CFOs see the economy as similar to that of 2011 with 27 percent seeing an expansion but just not at the level of 2008. For the longer term, 13 percent expect the economy to stabilize at current levels compared to only 1 percent who see growth beyond what they achieved in 2008.

Industries surveyed in Gartner’s report included education/government, financial services, health care, professional services, technology Providers, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Retail and Wholesale Distribution/Transportation.

About 39 percent of respondents predicted a similar IT operating expense budget in 2012 as in 2010, while 44 percent forecast an increase and 17 percent see a decrease. For IT capital appropriations, 32 percent project a status quo on spending compared to 48 percent who expect an increase and 20 percent who forecast a decrease.

In Gartner’s study, business applications and intelligence ranked as more important than technology and social media.

Among CFOs, 27 percent saw the need for IT investment in business applications, 25 percent in business intelligence-related technologies compared to 5 percent in mobile technologies and 2 percent in social networking.

When asked about the top technologies that should be applied in the office of finance today, reconciliation management, financial statement generation/disclosure management and Governance, risk and compliance management solutions ranked among the top five in Gartner’s survey of CFOs.

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