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Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

Enterprise Ireland are endeavouring to ensure that Irish businesses are prepared for any eventuality during the Brexit transition. Their advice, and ours is to ensure that you are well prepared and have planned for these changes in advance. We all think we know our company and our business inside and out but with so much change on the horizon it is essential that you understand how your business will respond to any outcome.

Enterprise Ireland have created a free tool to ensure that you and your business are prepared and informed ahead of Brexit. The Enterprise Ireland SME Scorecard is a tool which will help any exporters from Ireland to the UK plan in advance and will give a detailed analysis of how prepared your business is for Brexit. Whilst you may know the ins and outs of your daily business well, this tool will allow you a glimpse into the future of how your business will respond to these coming changes.

The following six areas have been identified as the most important areas to prepare in advance of Brexit.

  • Business Strategy is essential in all areas of business, but in particular when change looms on the horizon it is essential to have a strategy in place and identify any areas of weakness in advance.
  • Operations relates to the day to day running of your business and it is vital to prepare for how this might change or if there are any existing issues that need to be modified.
  • Innovation is one of the main ways that Irish businesses can capitalise on the changes ahead with Brexit as improved services and innovative products can identify Ireland as a key player in the times ahead.
  • Sales and Marketing have always been a key aspect of business, and with Brexit these will become increasingly important in order to set your business apart to offset any downfall.
  • Finance is the backbone of any business so it is essential to assess your businesses financial strengths and weaknesses before Brexit comes into play to identify potential problems before they occur.
  • People Management has been identified as a key area to assess before Brexit as with such major changes ahead your team will be the ones at the battlefront.

As well as this free scorecard tool, Enterprise Ireland are allowing SMEs apply for a grant of up to €5000 to be used to prepare for Brexit and the changes it will bring. This will free up other cash flow to be used to otherwise further your business whilst the grant is used to buffer any weaker areas identified through the scorecard tool.

As always we are available for any advice or guidance you may require on business or finance matters.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

SOWING THE SEEDS OF INTERNATIONAL GROWTH

Success is a very strange beast which appears in different forms for all individuals whether business owners or not. For business owners in Ireland, often the first port of call is to establish some small measure of success on home turf, before seeking to grow the business elsewhere. In the years following the financial crisis we have seen a mass exodus of people leaving our country, visas in hand to find their fortunes elsewhere. It would appear that this has slowed considerably in recent times so today we are going to focus on the other side of the coin, managing to grow your Irish business internationally while remaining on home ground.

 

Recent reports have suggested that since Ireland’s financial recovery has started to pick up some form of speed, many of those who have travelled to Australia or elsewhere and found success there have returned to Ireland in order to utilise their newfound skills and level of success. The Enterprise Ireland office in Sydney is said to be working with more than 150 Irish companies, whilst a vast number of Australian companies are now expanding operations in Ireland. Similarly, Irish recruitment agency CPL created a pop-up office in Melbourne in which it interviewed Irish professionals for positions back in Ireland.

 

So what options exist for growing your Irish business internationally whether you are making your return or have stayed put?

 

The Enterprise Ireland Internationalisation Grant gives Irish businesses the opportunity to grow in international markets. This grant focuses solely on supporting the costs of undertaking new market research which is a valuable asset in growing your business in new areas and the research must focus on an area not already being covered by your business. There are a number of eligibility criteria available through the Enterprise Ireland website including that the business must be based in the Republic of Ireland and employ more than 10 people. There is also an available option for much larger companies. The maximum grant available here is €35,000, which would certainly garner valuable information for growing your company. This grant is open to applications all year round.

 

For smaller companies and SMEs, the Enterprise Europe Network is an invaluable resource which will assist in gaining new contacts and support networks beyond the door of your own business. This is a support network for SMEs and other companies with international ambitions assisting in gaining contacts and providing much needed information about funding available. This is also an important resource when looking to grow your business internationally as it provides valuable information on EU regulations which will ensure that your business is following all appropriate protocol.

 

The Enterprise Europe Network also provide an access to EU funding programme for SMEs to assist in this process as well as giving Irish companies the opportunity to give feedback on EU legislation. This is a resource we would urge all Irish SMEs whether dreaming big or small to engage with.

 

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at DCA Accountants, where we will be happy to assist and advise in any way possible.

 

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION…

What does the Government’s latest Action Plan for Jobs promise to your business?

 

In this day and age, it’s easy to be cynical about much trumpeted Government initiatives, especially ones promising increased employment. But as JobBridge showed, for better or worse, these top-down programmes have the potential to change the market dramatically. So parsing the Government’s latest action plan for jobs in search of reforms that will affect your business is a pretty worthwhile exercise.

 

The third instalment in the Government plan contains 385 actions to be spread across all 16 Government Departments and 46 Agencies. Not all of these are directly relevant to domestic businesspeople, of course, as a good chunk of Government effort is still focused on attracting and retaining Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

 

Encouraging Entrepreneurship

Fortunately, however, the Government has realised that two thirds of all new jobs in recent years have been created by start-up businesses. Some of these might seem superficial – a county based public competition to find the best entrepreneur in Ireland – but a budget of €2m in funding for awards is nothing to be sniffed at.

 

31 new Local Enterprise Offices are also promised to drive start-ups across the country, along with the introduction of an Entrepreneurial PhD programme to train Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) scientists to launch their own businesses. Looking to the longer term, the Government has also pledged a review of tax supports for entrepreneurs to see if they can be improved or simplified

 

Competitiveness and Manufacturing

Companies facing a squeeze from labour and other costs can also take some heart from the plan, as improved competitiveness has also been targeted. Aside from a new system of reporting to Cabinet on competitiveness issues, the Government has promised concrete action on manpower issues. This includes the provision of 6,000 Momentum placements to enhance skills – if you’re an education or training provider, the scheme is something you can check out here. For employers in the service sector or other lower-wage industries, the rollout of new reformed Workplace relations structures should also be a major boost. Meanwhile, a set of new measures have been rolled out to support productivity improvements and higher levels of R&D in manufacturing businesses.

 

Finance

As any businessperson will tell you, the finance to reach sustainable profitability is one of the most important ingredients for success, but many find it extremely difficult to obtain from banks. If you’re likely to be looking for finance in the next year or two, though, the latest action plan offers some hope. The Government has promised more new non-bank sources of lending to SMEs, adding to €2bn already available, including new working capital products for exporters and a retail mini bonds market via the Irish Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, the Department of Finance has pledged to monitor new bank lending to SMEs on a monthly basis to bring added scrutiny.

 

There are a smattering of other measures – Regional Enterprise Strategies, proposals for a successor to the National Spatial Strategy, new supports in sectors such as Agriculture/Food, ICT and Tourism – that won’t apply to everyone, and a few that are vague. It remains to be seen, for example, whether the Year of Irish Design 2015 brings any momentum to the design and crafts sector in the medium term. But some items in the Action Plan for Jobs 2014 are genuinely exciting and worth checking out. If you would like an initial no-obligation meeting to discuss opportunities that the plan may present, or your own unique business needs, simply contact us.