June 11- In a marked improvement in outlook from just three months ago, 53 percent of company financial professionals say conditions are worse now than six months ago, compared to the 86 percent who reported so last quarter. And 48 percent expect conditions to improve in next six months, more than three times as many who said so last quarter, according to the results of an online Performance and Planning poll released this week by Adaptive Planning and the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum.
These and other findings in the study point to indications that the economy is bottoming out, according to company financial experts. The vast majority of respondents expect the economy to begin to recover within the next year, with 37 percent predicting the turnaround to start in 2009 and 44 percent predicting a recovery beginning in the first half of 2010.
Even so, 57% of companies missed their revenue targets this past quarter, and 92% are still facing significant levels of uncertainty according to the report. Demand for goods and services tops the list of obstacles to growth, followed by access to credit and financial market stability.
But the overall sentiment reflects a shift. "The key takeaways of the Performance and Planning poll are that we may have reached the low point of the economy, and companies are becoming more agile in their planning and budgeting processes in order to survive and thrive in this extremely difficult period,” said Dave Murray, executive vice president of the BPM Forum, in an email to Information Management. “There is still a lot of work to do, but it is encouraging that more financial professionals are predicting recovery this year or by early 2010."  
Among the top leading indicators of economic recovery were unemployment rates and the stock market, both of which have been in flux, and adding to the levels of uncertainty that budgeting and planning professionals face.
Bloomberg News also reported today that better-than-estimated reports on jobless claims and retail sales are raising some  confidence that the economy is improving.
The Adaptive/BPM poll surveyed financial professionals from companies in over twenty industries that range in size from under $10 million to over $1 billion in revenues. More than half, of respondents came from midsized or large companies with more than 100 employees. For more information on the Planning and Performance poll and summary report of the findings, click here

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