"Generating new business" in the current economic climate is the chief concern for the majority (40%) of Irish businesses as they embark into 2021, while 30% say that "managing a remote workforce" will be their primary challenge this year.
These are some of the headline findings of a new survey from the Association of Compliance Officers of Ireland (ACOI). The survey of more than 250 organisations, answered by ACOI members with responsibility for compliance in financial organisations throughout the country, sought to gain insight into attitudes around the challenges coming down the line in 2021, and whether they have changed significantly since respondents were last asked the same questions over 6 months ago.
The survey also revealed that 11% more organisations now believe that COVID is likely to have a bigger impact than Brexit on their success or otherwise in 2021 – 65% up from 54% in 2020.
The ACOI survey reported that just 8% felt that "cashflow" was their biggest concern, which, the experts say, could be down to good financial planning and cash flow projections on the part of business owners, plus an increase in the financial supports available.
As of January 2021, 65% of respondents said COVID was likely to have a bigger impact on business than Brexit, up from 54% in September 2020. Approximately 29% of remaining respondents now feel the COVID/Brexit split would have the greatest impact compared with 35% in the previous survey, and just 6% now feel that Brexit is their organisation’s biggest consideration.
Commenting on the research, CEO of ACOI, Michael Kavanagh said, "Last July we asked organisations what their top concern was - 39% said ‘generating new business’ while 24% said ‘managing a remote workforce’. Since then, those percentages have risen to 40% and 30% respectively, so things are definitely not getting any easier in either regard. How to tackle these issues under the continuing spectre of COVID-19 is fraught with difficulties, but it is all our hope that as the year plays out, Government supports, coupled with greater economic certainty and stability, might assist these organisations to rise to and overcome these challenges."