Editorial comment.

Author:Prickett, Ruth
Position:Financial Management - Editorial

Merry Christmas and a happy new year--yet again, every paper and TV show will be obsessively showing the highlights (and lowlights) of the past 12 months and every consumer magazine will be telling you how to get the perfect job, house, relationship and personal fitness regime in 2003. So in this December/January issue of Financial Management we are combining both past and future in our overview of the key economic trends of 2002 and expert predictions of what 2003 will bring for business (pages 18-23). We can't advise you on how to turn yourself into a Russell Crowe lookalike who can bake the best fairy cakes in town while decorating his sitting room with original masterpieces, but we can help you to start the year with the expert financial advice you need to keep your business in shape.

Not surprisingly, the consensus is that the economy in 2002 has, at best, been uncertain for most sectors in most countries. Even the industries that are doing well, such as budget airlines and retailers, are aware that this prosperity is facing many threats. But, while war, terrorism and recession are dark clouds on every business's horizon, many people remain upbeat about the economic prospects. History has shown that shares always bounce back and major political crises often have a surprisingly limited effect on the economic cycle.

What has emerged from the current uncertainty, however, is a far greater awareness of risk and a new understanding that all corporate risks--whether people management, IT and infrastructure, supply chains or brand and reputation--need to be seen as part of the whole company's...

To continue reading