SMEs Worried About Liquidity And Cashflow

17 Jul 2020 | 11.13 am

SMEs Worried About Liquidity And Cashflow

Chartered Accountants Ireland survey

17 Jul 2020 | 11.13 am

A report prepared for Chartered Accountants Ireland says that a third of Irish businesses list liquidity and cashflow as key concerns for the next 12 months.

The Next Financial Year: Making Irish Business More Competitive survey also found that digital transformation will be a key priority for a quarter of businesses post-Covid, with a similar proportion calling for changes to company law to allow greater flexibility to navigate circumstances such as a pandemic. 

Circa 1,800 members of the professional body participated in the survey by Coyne Research, saying that at least of third of businesses recognise a need to overhaul their business model post-pandemic but want temporary measures to support that. 

Apart from flexibility under company law, they want to see greater leniency on filing deadlines, interest and penalties, cuts in VAT as a short-term stimulus, and long-term business supports.

Public policy director Brian Keegan (pictured) said: “SMEs are fighting to stay afloat and post-pandemic many will reimagine how they function or will pivot into new activities. Supports are currently based on the way that business has always been done, but with this changing ‘The Next Financial Year’ outlines a simplified, more flexible approach.

“Now is not the time to rely on dogged and uncommercial approaches. Government policy must be focused on providing maximum support and flexibility to businesses.”

On digitalisation, Keegan said that remote working has been one of the most visible signs of change since March, and added: “Many workers are now trusted to work productively from home where possible; and it is now acceptable to hold significant business meetings online. Chartered Accountants Ireland calls for the momentum to be maintained by increased support for the education and adoption of digital competencies across the business community through increased grant-funded programmes.”

CAI wants government to play its part in supporting that, and the report suggests the following: 

  • Full digitalisation of CRO services, including accepting electronic signatures, and electronic filing of documents
  • Allow all companies to hold virtual AGMs
  • Allow creditors’ meetings to be held by telephone and/or video link
  • Full automation of the professional services withholding tax system so that the record of the tax withheld is generated in electronic format and automatically issued to Revenue
  • Pledge by Revenue to provide a MyEnquiries query response rate of five working days.

Outside digitalisation, the report also suggests:

  • Extension of filing deadline for accounts due from October 31 to December 31 until end-January 2021
  • Increase the examinership period to 150 days
  • Simplify existing support and funding schemes, especially those aimed at the SME sector, which are too onerous and complex to administer
  • Government to push for increased share of €750 billion EU Recovery and Resilience Fund to deliver support to hospitality, tourism, leisure and retail sectors.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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