North West FD’s views on the economy for 2013

A survey of Finance Directors from some of the North West’s leading businesses suggests the economic outlook is more positive starting 2013 than this time last year.

67% of FDs surveyed anticipate the economic climate will stay the same in 2013 where as this time last year the group anticipated the economy would worsen.

The survey conducted by AFR Consulting specialist FD & financial recruiter gathered views from over 200 FD’s in the North West FD Network looking at the economy in 2013 and reviewing their business activity in 2012.

More than half of those surveyed have taken streamlining and cost reduction measures in 2012 with 44% of businesses keeping capital expenditure the same and 44% decreasing headcount.

Encouragingly 55% of them increased turnover in 2012 and 40% have invested in staff development and training.

At Decembers quarterly regional FD Network Events delegates also offered their tips on what to do to prosper in business this year.

Phil Scott, Director at AFR Consulting said: “The general consensus from our network of FDs is to keep finances tight, strictly managing cash flow whilst developing staff, products and services where possible.”

FD Network partner, Barclays Director John Stanworth recommended businesses: “Take advantage of the declining number of suppliers, stay close to all stakeholders and exude confidence in their USP.”

Moore and Smalley Director Stephen Gregson added: “Businesses should stick to what they know best, even when the outlook seems bleak it is often darkest before the dawn and the turning point or new opportunities could always be just around the corner.”

The FD’s tipped manufacturing and engineering as well as IT and telecoms as potential growth sectors for 2013. Whilst optimism is up on last year 61% feel it will be 3-4 years before we see any significant improvements.