By Marcus Leach

It has been another busy year in the world of business, complete with the ups and downs we have come to expect, but nevertheless a year that ends with seeds of positivity hoping to flourish in the new year.

And so, as another action-packed year comes to an end, we take a look ahead to 2013. In this new series, 2013 Trends: What can we expect, Fresh Business Thinking examines different industry sectors, and what can be expected from each.

James Treadwell, a partner at Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, shares with us his views on what businesses can expect to happen in 2013.

I am cautiously optimistic that we won’t see another recession in 2013, he said. There are enough positives coming through to suggest it is not going to be all doom and gloom.

However, businesses cannot expect customers just to start knocking on the door again because we’re technically out of recession.

Businesses need to keep an eye on bad debts and also closely monitor customers, being careful to carry out credit checks to prevent bad debts arising in the first place. Costs should also be carefully controlled and staffing levels looked at very closely to ensure they reflect the levels of work being undertaken.

Businesses that have been strong financially have been able to ride out the difficult periods and, overall, I think those businesses that have survived the worst could benefit from reduced competition as some competitors will have gone out of business.

I believe there’s also an opportunity for businesses that have traditionally only offered their services in this country to look overseas at new markets, particularly in the emerging economies.

The engineering sector is performing steadily at the moment, notwithstanding the recent recorded drop in manufacturing output, and I think it could continue to do well in 2013, particularly for those that have found a niche.

In the construction sector, contractors are still struggling and it looks like there will continue to be a lack of funding support for this sector.

In my opinion, recruitment ability will continue to be a problem for many firms as the costs of employing new people, particularly employer National Insurance Contributions, remain prohibitive. I’d like to see the government take action on this matter at some point over the next 12-months.