Nearly half of financial professionals think that the current recession will be characterized by another large economic dip, and 74 percent see the recovery taking at least until mid-2010, according to a new poll.

Forty-six percent of the financial executives surveyed by financial planning software developer Adaptive Planning and the Business Performance Management Forum in a quarterly poll predict a “W-shape” recession with two big economic drops, suggesting that the worst is not yet behind us. Fifty-seven percent are still facing high or very high levels of uncertainty in their business.

On the positive side, more respondents (25 percent) say conditions are better than they were six months ago (compared to 15 percent who said so last quarter), and fewer (42 percent) say things are worse now than did last quarter (53 percent). However, 75 percent say things are the same or worse. And there is no corresponding increase in those that predict conditions will improve in the next six months. 

Companies continue to underperform in their planning, with 61 percent coming in under revenue targets this quarter, offset somewhat by 46 percent coming in under expense targets. In the future, improvements are expected for revenues and profits, with 46 percent expecting revenue growth in the next six months, but only 33 percent predicting profit margin growth over that period.

Budgeting continues to be too slow and low in value, with 56 percent of the financial executives reporting that budgeting takes three months or more, 23 percent saying that it’s essential for informing strategy, and two-thirds still using primitive methods of budget planning in the form of spreadsheets.  

The employment picture has deteriorated, with hiring plans decreasing from last quarter (14 percent versus 21 percent last quarter). Expectations for further reductions increased (39 percent versus 32 percent last quarter). Forty-seven percent of larger companies now expect reductions.

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