As the global economic outlook remains uncertain, companies have shifted their thinking away from waiting for an upturn and are concentrating on optimizing their business by cutting costs and increasing efficiency. Exploring the top 10 risks and opportunities in 2013 and beyond” report released yesterday by Ernst & Young, based on a survey of senior executives from 641 companies in 21 countries, a press release informs. Pricing pressure is the biggest risk highlighted by companies in 2013, with the C-suite now accepting that they must find new ways to be profitable in response to shrinking developed markets. This is reflected in companies turning to innovation and rapid-growth markets in order to create new opportunities. This contrasts with 2011 when companies were focused on the risks associated with regulation and compliance, and the most significant opportunity came from the execution of operational strategy. High wages and input costs, as well as significant new regulatory burdens on various sectors, mean that cost cutting and the related pressure on profits is cited by respondents as the second-biggest risk they face, with companies needing to make tough decisions on how to cut costs without damaging product and service standards. Looking towards 2015, E&Y research highlights that companies are increasingly reconciling themselves not only to a long-term downturn in developed markets, but also to their increased exposure to a volatile world economy and markets.