Grant Thornton Survey Tracks Business Concerns

18 Oct 2021 | 10.49 am

Grant Thornton Survey Tracks Business Concerns

Aon unveils index monitoring business risk

18 Oct 2021 | 10.49 am

Businesses across the country have reported a continued decline in revenue, with process inefficiencies and access to talent posing the biggest challenges to their post-Covid recovery.

That’s according to the inaugural Grant Thornton Irish Business Voice Programme survey of local business, carried out in partnership with local Chambers of Commerce.

Half of the 264 firms participating in the survey said they expect their revenue will decrease this year, with one in three  expecting revenue to decrease by 20% or more.

A number of areas of key concern were identified in the analysis of the survey responses gathered during June and July.

Business process inefficiencies, access to a skilled workforce, and the implementation of sustainable development goals were all cited as significant issues.

Three out of four respondents cited business process inefficiencies as a concern. These range from Brexit regulatory changes, challenges of business automation,  and streamlining new technologies required to support remote working.

Grant Thornton partner Aengus Burns (pictured) commented: “It is clear that the impact of Covid-19 will be felt long into the future. Talent attraction features as a significant hurdle to growth. With new technology, and the now widespread hybrid working model, new opportunities to attract skilled workers can also be realised.”

Three out of four respondents had some level of concern about accessing a skilled staff, with one in four indicating a serious concern on the issue.

On a more positive note, more than half of businesses said they had no concerns about tax compliance and regulatory requirements. The same proportion said they had no concerns about supply chain complexity.

Following on from the Irish Business Voice Programme, Grant Thornton Ireland will host a number of events for small businesses in partnership with Chambers of Commerce across the country in the coming months.

For more information and to access the full Grant Thornton Irish Business Voice Programme report, click here.

Business Risk Index

Meanwhile, the inaugural Business Risk Index from professional services firm Aon has revealed the lingering uncertainty facing many businesses moving to a hybrid working model.

A survey of 160 businesses across Ireland found that only one in four employers are concerned about a possible decline in productivity as they move to a hybrid working model.

However, c.60% are still uncertain as to whether the challenges of manging a hybrid workforce will impact their team’s ability to innovate. Only one in four are confident that a hybrid working model will not restrict innovation within their business.

The survey also points to the growing importance placed on company culture by employers to successfully manage teams both in-person and remotely.

Cyber-security remains a principal concern for employers navigating the future of work. Almost half of all Irish businesses cite ‘phishing’ as the biggest current cyber risk to their organisation with (24% concerned about possible ransomware attacks on their business.

Companies are taking steps to enhance their cyber resilience and preparedness with 40% having provided cyber-security training to employees over the past 18 months, while 40% have enhanced their data recovery and backup systems.

Aon’s Peter Brady commented: “While some companies are optimistic about the future and are proactively taking steps to address emerging risks, there is lingering uncertainty about the ability of hybrid teams to innovate and to do so in a secure manner.

“We would encourage business leaders to review whether they have the right technology and cyber security strategy, as well as a supportive culture in place to spark creativity – irrespective of where employees are located. Leaders must take action to foster an organisational culture that nurtures collaboration and prioritises outcomes rather than processes.”

 

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