An Economic Report published by CPA Ireland today suggests support for Ireland’s beleaguered SMEs will be required long after the COVID-19 pandemic as the impact of the pandemic will be felt for many years to come.
CPA Ireland, one of the country’s largest accountancy bodies whose members advise over 100,000 SMEs, has urged the government to give early reassurances that support will be maintained into the medium term.
In a survey of CPA members working in practice and industry carried out for the report just 6% of respondents are optimistic that the National Economic Plan has the capacity to improve conditions for SMEs.
CPA say this failure will have far reaching consequences for the economy and for society if adequate supports are not in place to support the SME base which is the bedrock of the economy. A massive 97% of respondents believe that further initiatives will be required from government to sustain businesses in the long term.
SME’s account for over two thirds of Ireland’s business employment (67.5%) totalling over 1 million people and the survey of CPA members found that 74% will have had stagnant or declining business conditions in 2020.
The report’s author, economist Jim Power, says, "There are many long-term and strategic challenges facing SMEs post COVID including adapting to an increasingly virtual trading environment, sustainability planning, a continued shift towards remote working and an overall weaker economic demand."
He concluded, "The perfect storm of Brexit and the Pandemic demands a response from policy makers like we have never seen before and yet 75% of CPA Members in Practice and 44% of CPA Members working in industry do not believe adequate Brexit supports have been put in place by government."