Compiled By Tonya Vinas Fifty-two percent of recently surveyed financial executives say the current economy is hindering them from forecasting their companies' operating budgets, and they'll, therefore, be managing by cutting costs. American Express released these findings based on a survey of 485 CFOs at midsized companies (average revenues of $181 million, with a range of $10 million to $1 billion). More than two-thirds of the respondents see a flat, erratic or declining economy in 2003. Plans for their companies call for reducing costs from outside vendors and/or reducing internal costs, according to American Express. "This is a marked departure from the late 1990s when companies placed phenomenal growth and increased revenues over cost containment," says American Express Corporate Services' Anre Williams, senior vice president and general manager, U.S. Middle Market. "In today's environment, in order to put their houses back in financial order, executives have refocused their attention on expense management."