Despite the pandemic, 80% of CFOs in the U.S. and U.K. hold a "positive" or "extremely positive" view of the economic outlook for this year, according to a survey by Proxima of 500 CFOs and finance directors in the U.S. and 505 of their counterparts in the U.K.
Ninety-one percent of the U.S. respondents and 90% of the U.K respondents anticipate revenue growth this year, according to the survey by Proxima, a provider of procurement services.
In the U.S., 82% of financial executives intend to make big financial investments in the next year, while 79% in the U.K. have similar plans, the survey said.
"Businesses are already looking ahead to the post-COVID world and how they can ensure their businesses are ready to grow," Kent Mahoney, executive vice president for North America at Proxima, said in a statement. "IT investments have increased dramatically."
Economic growth will likely rebound in the U.S., U.K. and much of the world in 2021, according to several forecasts. The U.S. and U.K. economies will expand 5.1% and 4.5%, respectively, the International Monetary Fund said.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is less optimistic, forecasting that U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) will rise 3.7% in 2021 after a 2.5% slump last year.
U.S. growth will probably recover to its pre-pandemic level by the middle of 2021 — spurred in part by federal aid to businesses and households — and average 2.6% on an annual basis from 2021 through 2025, the CBO said.
The $900 billion recovery legislation approved by Congress in December will probably boost U.S. GDP by 1.5% in 2021 and 2022, according to CBO. Lawmakers are considering a proposal from President Biden for $1.9 trillion in additional rescue spending.
The pandemic has prompted 69% of the survey respondents to channel a bigger portion of their budgets to "social value initiatives" such as sustainability and humanitarian projects, the survey found.
The coronavirus has also caused a lasting shift toward remote work, according to the survey.
Forty-seven percent of U.S. financial executives and 58% of their U.K. counterparts predict that some degree of remote work will become permanent, the survey found. Only 11% of the CFOs and finance directors in the two countries plan a full-time return to the office.