Nearly 70 percent of senior finance executives expect the recession to continue into 2010, according to a new survey.

Over two-thirds of the respondents to a survey of 285 senior finance executives by American Express and CFO Research Services predicted modest to substantial economic contraction over the next 12 months, and 63 percent reported that their companies’ capital investments will decrease in 2009.

When asked about changes in their workforce, 59 percent of the respondents anticipated a decrease in headcount. Companies are taking actions now to avoid layoffs, however. Half the executives polled reported plans to freeze salaries and bonuses, while 32 percent plan to reduce benefits, and 29 percent plan to cut salaries and bonuses. Twenty-four percent of the senior finance execs surveyed plan to reduce employee work hours or give furloughs, and 16 percent of them plan temporary office or plant closures.

Cost control strategies also dominated finance executives’ sentiments as they continue to deal with the recession. Eighty-five percent said they are tightening controls over employee spending, while 82 percent are placing greater emphasis on measuring and monitoring company financial performance, and 71 percent are improving internal financial controls.

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