Chief financial officers strongly agreed with the guilty verdicts recently handed down for former Enron Corp. executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, according to the second quarter "CFO Outlook Survey," conducted by Financial Executives International and Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business.

While few of the more than 200 survey respondents argued for maximum sentencing for the men, just 3 percent ultimately disagreed with the guilty rulings against Lay and Skilling. FEI president and chief executive Colleen Cunningham said that respondents' comments expressed the belief that ignorance is no defense for a chief executive, or a chief financial officer

The survey's findings also showed that capital spending appears to be on the rise, with almost three-quarters (73 percent) of surveyed CFOs expecting an increase at their company over the next twelve months. The average forecast is an increase of 8.1 percent, up from last quarter's projected 6.6 percent. Hiring is expected to grow by 4 percent, the same forecast as last quarter.

While three-quarters of the CFOs said that they were concerned about inflation, about two-thirds of the group said that they believe the Federal Reserve should hold steady on interest rates.

"Our survey results don't point to stagflation, a concern today among investors and economists," said the dean of Baruch's Zicklin School of Business, John Elliott, in a statement. "Instead, CFOs are forecasting measured growth in capital spending and price increases. They don't favor further increases in interest rates at this time."

Previously on WebCPA:

Jury Finds Lay, Skilling Guilty (May 25, 2006)

Survey Looks at CFO's Take on Exec Pay Proposal (March 27, 2006)

CFO Survey: Economic Optimism Drops to 12-Month Low (June 10, 2005)

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