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In light of Brexit, is there an opportunity for more trade with China?

Trade and Trade Alike

As Brexit conversations continue to get increasingly unclear and Ireland’s standing remains uncertain it is important that focus shift onto Ireland’s business and trade strengths rather than solely where we may have difficulties following Brexit, particularly in the event of a ‘Hard Brexit’. In the past, year we have spoken about Irish optimism ahead of Brexit and the ways in which Irish businesses could ensure their continued strength and prosperity going forward onto uncertain terrain.

As China’s leader Xi Jinping continues his European Tour, one might expect that Ireland would not crop up in conversation or be worth much note at this time. It may seem like an odd comparison to discuss Irish trade and business in relation to Italy and China, with our small island seeming to pale in comparison to such trade giants and global superpowers, but you may be surprised to learn that Ireland in fact currently supplies more food to China than Italy, proving again the vitality and strength of our independent trade.

Whilst Italy has recently slipped into somewhat of a recession, and Ireland continues to grow following our own economic crisis, we are on more even footing than we may even realise. Discussions within this European Tour will hope to encourage more openly reciprocated trade routes between the European Union and China, into which Ireland is certain to factor. The attempt to create something of a modern day ‘silk road’ has been met with equal parts scepticism and fear as Italy sign on.

It seems that European leaders are now intent on creating a new bond with global giants such as China, and on securing the global status of the EU especially as talks continue for Brexit. The EU’s labelling of China as a “systemic rival” was met with displeasure as the EU begin to clamp down on any issues or threats, following the messy divorce that Brexit continues to be. It has been stated that the EU will no longer naively go along with any deals that do not benefit the greater good of the EU and will no longer allow access to the EU market when access is not reciprocated. This could open trade routes going forward and ensure the continued power of the EU globally.

Whilst Brexit continues to drag on and loom large, and we do not have a crystal ball into the future, it is good to know that Ireland is safe in the hands of its big sibling, the European Union.

As always here at EcovisDCA we are happy to reciprocate and welcome any questions or concerns you may have that we can assist with, we are grateful for your continued support and friendship.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

The Rescue & Restructuring Scheme

Financial Aid To Restructure & Survive

As you are all aware, we here at EcovisDCA are massive supporters of Irish SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). We understand the importance of these types of companies, underpinning and creating a foundation for all Irish business. In general, we like to keep our clients and friends up to date on any issues that may negatively or positively affect these vital businesses. You may or may not have heard of the Rescue and Restructuring Scheme in Ireland. The scheme provides financial aid and State support to companies experiencing acute liquidity. The intention was that the scheme would offer assistance to those struggling companies who have the possibility of restructuring and continued survival in the business world.

The scheme was first introduced in November 2017, offering a fund of €10million to struggling Irish SMEs. In 2018, an extension to the scheme was approved and announced, with an additional €10million being made available to these businesses. The scheme was scheduled to run until 2020 and would offer support in form of loans repayable over a period of 18 months. The only exemptions to the scheme were those companies in the financial, coal and steel sectors.

The introduction of this scheme in 2017 and 2018’s subsequent extension and funds increase was already a massive boon to the Irish SME sector, offering some form of safety net in times of trouble. As we are all aware, financially speaking anything can happen in the economy and smaller businesses are usually the first to feel the negative effects, so this offer of €20million to survive Brexit woes for struggling SMEs was welcome news.

Further good news arrived on the horizon this month, with the announcement that the scheme would once again be extended with further funds being made available. Perhaps the whispers of terms like “hard Brexit” and “borders” may have had something to do with it, but on this occasion we see a massive increase as it was recently announced that The European Commission has agreed to increase the budget of the scheme by a whopping €180million to €200million.

We are delighted that the Government are taking the appropriate steps to assist in the safeguarding of these vital companies and their future in the eye of the Brexit hurricane, as it has long been known that Irish SMEs could be the most vulnerable in the event of Brexit causing trade and financial issues in Ireland. These additional funds show a willingness to create and support vulnerable businesses and create an ongoing contingency plan for these uncertain weeks and months ahead.

Should you have any queries on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help.

Safeguarding your Business against the Brexit Blizzard

It seems that we have been talking about the looming shadow of Brexit for many years at this point. Now that there is finally a set date, it may seem that there is still very little information available for Irish companies with ties to the UK, so today we will focus on some possible implications of Britain’s upcoming exit from the European Union for Irish companies to enable you to best prepare and secure your company.

The United Kingdom (UK) is now set to leave the European Union (EU) on March 29th 2019 and there are many ways in which this could have implications for many Irish companies with ties to the UK. The main implication from the outset will be that the UK will no longer be part of the European Economic Area which may cause a number of shifts for Irish companies.

EEA Resident Director:

Under the Companies Act 2014, all Irish companies are required to have at least one director who is resident in the European Economic Area. Any companies who have directors ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom will be required to appoint a director who is resident within the EEA, or to take out a Section 137 Insurance Bond against non-compliance until they are fully compliant with this rule. It is suggested that this be done immediately to avoid issues.

There may be a loophole available should the director have a “real and continuous link to the State of Ireland”. These specifications must already be met and will not be satisfied on the basis of future intent.

Exemptions for Irish Subsidiaries:

In certain cases, Irish subsidiary companies may not need to file ‘Individual Entry Financial Statements’ with their annual return. This applies only to Irish subsidiaries held by holding companies under the laws of an EEA country, and in no other circumstance. If the subsidiary is held by a UK holding company, this will not apply.

Changes to Year End:

Under current Irish law, a company can change their financial year end date once every 5 years. Currently, if the aforementioned company is part of an EEA multi company structure, the financial year end dates of all companies can be aligned. This will no longer be applicable to company structures which include a UK company.

Irish Branches:

Many UK companies have registered an ‘Irish Branch’, which would naturally be a branch of an EEA company. Following Brexit, this will no longer be applicable and the Irish branch will find itself subject to stricter filing rules.

Imports and Exports:

This is arguably the most crucial item for Irish companies with links to the UK. It will be required post-Brexit for all companies importing or exporting goods into or out of the European Union to have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification Number (EORI). This will be essential for customs purposes and it is advised that all companies with trade links to the UK ensure that they have this ready.

As we have stated in the past, the future post-Brexit is uncertain but does not need to be clouded in doubt and negativity. The above issues are important to be aware of so that you can safeguard your business in these uncertain times, but many businesses can continue to thrive in this new environment without the assistance of our closest neighbours.

As always, we here at EcovisDCA are ready and waiting to assist you with any issues you may have on any business or financial matters and we look forward to continuing our relationships with all our clients and friends.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

SMEs Come In To 2019 Fighting

As we cruise in to the middle of January, and we finally stop writing the incorrect year on all of our notes, we begin to look towards what 2019 may have in store and what we can bring forward into this New Year that was learned in 2018. It is natural to be caught somewhere between cautious and optimistic for the year ahead even on a personal level, and reports this week suggest that the feeling amongst the Small Business Community is no different.

The latest report from the Small Firms Association (SFA) this month suggest that the mood within the Small Business Community at present is very cautious yet somewhat optimistic with just under 60% of members (all small businesses with 50 employees or less) stating that they feel that the business environment is improving and continuing to do so. This is a drop of just 2% from last year which emphasises the level of uncertainty within the year ahead as the idea of a Hard Brexit and border issues for Irish businesses continues to loom large.

Brexit was naturally highlighted as one of the larger areas of concern, which is unlikely to change for a number of weeks as talks in Britain ramp up and the situation becomes more tense, fraught and confusing for those of us that could be impacted. We have often discussed the increasing cost of living in Ireland, but we have not highlighted another cause of concern with small businesses and SMEs which is the increasing cost of running a business which rises in conjunction with the cost of living. With unemployment decreasing steadily, attracting talented staff has also become a tripping point for some small businesses.

Director of the SFA Sven Spollen-Behrens has stated that;

“2018 has been a challenging year for small business […] The confident mood of a year ago has eased a little on account of Brexit and the tightening labour market. Nevertheless, the Irish economy remains in a strong position and this is confirmed on our member’s feedback.”

Despite these concerns, over two thirds of the businesses surveyed outlined their plans to recruit and expand their business over the course of 2019, whilst half of those surveyed had reported continuing growth. This shows that even when the environment is clouded by uncertainty and difficulties, Irish SMEs will always come out fighting.

Whether 2018 was your businesses most successful year to date, or fell somewhat short of business expectations, there is a full year of opportunity to embrace ahead. While we may be wary of the changes Brexit may bring to our shores, we must also be prepared and safeguard our businesses against any coming storm. We hope 2019 will be an incredibly successful year for all and as always we here at Ecovis DCA are ready and available to assist with any queries or concerns you may have with regards to any business or financial matters. Please don’t hesitate to contact us we are always available to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Where to now for Brexit?

The Swings and Roundabouts

After a period of relative silence on the topic, Brexit has quickly become a hot conversation topic once more in recent weeks as Brexit talks begin to ramp up. Despite the constant chatter, however, there have been no official announcements or updates on what we can expect from a final Brexit decision. Naturally, this has caused an atmosphere of concern and uncertainty, particularly for our own minute island as questions about border issues, and difficulties in trade swarm around us and we remain uncertain about our place in all of this. As we have discussed recently however, many Irish companies appear to be thriving in this uncertainty and beginning the process of protecting their business against any potential fallout. Something we have learned from this continued confusion is that Irish companies show great resilience in the face of adversity and have attempted to learn the lessons enforced by the economic downturn.

Recently, there have been growing concerns about the impact Brexit could have on our already troubled housing sector. We have spoken at length in the past about the housing sector as rents continue to rise and many are being elbowed out of any attempts at gaining a foothold on the property ladder. It was announced this week that the Economic, Social and Research Institute (ESRI) believe that the country should make itself ready for Brexit to have an effect on housing, as they expect private sector construction to drop, encouraging the Government to invest more in social housing. It is also believed that rent increases will continue to spiral, leaving many more families in need of support. As well as the ESRI, the Nevin Economic Research Institute feels that housing issues will fluctuate massively following Brexit and that demand will reach an all-time high. It was reported this week that both bodies will present TDs with their findings on November 20th.

Head of Economics with the ESRI, Kieran McQuinn has stated that the Housing Assistance Payment may become the main income support for private renters in the wake of Brexit:

“If income and employment growth are slower than anticipated due to Brexit, the numbers of families that qualify for HAP over the coming years will likely be higher than currently expected,”

Mr McQuinn also believes that demand may decrease but that this may not have the expected positive implications. Meanwhile, the ERSI have highlighted that mortgage arrears remain an issue in Ireland, and that following Brexit, these arrears may continue to increase.

There is some mild good news on the horizon for prospective buyers, however as Mr McQuinn of ERSI has stated that Brexit may have the effect of slowing the increase of mortgage interests rates, which would in turn finally see some levels of affordability return to the Irish housing market.

Should you have any concerns, queries or require further information on these or any other business and financial matters please don’t hesitate to contact us we are always available to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Brexit – Still No Clearer

Hope for the Brexit Best

It goes without saying that even those hiding under a rock with no Wi-Fi signal will by now have heard the word ‘Brexit’ by this point, meaning Britain’s highly controversial exit from the European Union. Brexit has proven to be a much more complex issue than it seemed was earlier anticipated and is now an issue fraught with tension and uncertainty for both Britain and our own little island which is often hidden under the safe shadow of its nearest neighbour.

In reports this week it seems that at this point the very notion of Brexit has become a rather messy one, with no parties having a clear understanding of what the final result will actually be. In this environment of uncertainty and as we rely on the UK so heavily for trade routes and business, it has been a cause for much concern in terms of Irish businesses. Terms like ‘Hard Brexit’ and ‘Soft Brexit’ have been thrown around a lot in recent weeks, but what is becoming apparent is that those who voted for Brexit may not be as in control of their destiny as they anticipated and may not have as much power to decide the terms of the departure. The British government continues to attempt to come to an agreement and create a plan which will be beneficial to the majority. As talks continue to fall apart it becomes increasingly clear that Brexit will not affect Britain in isolation, rather it will have a ripple effect across Europe. Even knowing this, it is easy to become tangled in terminology and speculation.

With this atmosphere of fear and uncertainty it came as somewhat of a surprise to hear our own Taoiseach’s assurances that Ireland needn’t be overly concerned as Brexit looms large over Europe. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has made an attempt to quash any lingering Irish fears, stating that Ireland is making contingency plans “in the unlikely event of a no-deal hard Brexit”. This may seem like a very relaxed attitude given the uncertainty surrounding Ireland’s position in this but also points to a new level of prosperity in Irish business and a certainty that we can hold our own in the European Union. There are even some whispers that this could be a very positive move for Irish trade and open us up to more opportunities than were available previously. It has however been suggested that it would be unwise for our Taoiseach to say too much in advance as there is no way of knowing the end result at this time.

This statement also shows a level of commitment to ensuring that no hard borders will spring up between the UK and Ireland which could damage Irish trade. This will be a crucial point of contention in the months ahead. As UK politicians battle to seek an alignment of ideals there is very little we can do on our side rather than take the traditional Irish standpoint of ‘prepare for the worst, hope for the best’.

Should you have any queries or require further information on this or any other business or financial matter please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA’s new head office, where as always we will be delighted to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

 

Finance options in wake of Brexit

Here at EcovisDCA our focus is always firmly on making life and business simpler for our clients and friends. We want you and your business to be a success just as you do and that all important work: life balance can sometimes only be achieved through the acceptance of a helping hand when in need. We have often spoken about funding options and opportunities available in order to either get your business off the ground or plan for an expansion and today we will be discussing a financing option with a twist: Growcap Finance.

Brexit is a word that has faded away into the middle distance somewhat in recent months after the term exploded into our general usage not too long ago. With Britain’s planned exit from the European Union still very much on the cards there is still some cause for concern for Irish businesses who may rely on foreign export or have had dealings with the UK. When engaging in global trade, one of the downsides for many business is the inevitable dealings with customs and VAT. Whilst many people sourcing goods may now look as far afield as China due to a newly improved quality of product, and lower pricing, there is always the issue of customs and VAT obligations when dealing outside the EU. It remains to be seen if Ireland will now face these issues in the future when dealing with goods from the UK once it is outside of the EU.

As a business owner it is your responsibility to ensure that any goods you have sourced from outside of the European Union get safely through the customs process and that the appropriate VAT is paid in full on entry. This can be quite a time consuming and painful process for business owners who have other issues to contend with as well as being an additional drain on vital cash flow to the business as VAT can add an extra 20 to 23% on to your existing payment. This is an issue especially for SMEs who may rely heavily on every penny of working capital available to them.

This is where Growcap Finance come in and can be of benefit to many businesses. Growcap Finance can assist you in funding your products sourced outside of the European Union, taking that additional headache away from you and freeing up some capital for your business. At present, Growcap can fund everything from the purchase price of the product to the logistics and VAT, while also ensuring that the product lives up to expectations before issuing payment. This may be an excellent option for businesses feeling the stress and headaches of dealing with VAT payments and shipments from outside the EU. It may also be a viable course of action in the event of a sudden Brexit.

Should you require any help, advice or guidance on any financial or business matters, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at EcovisDCA, where we will be happy to support you in getting your business to the next level.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together?

It would be almost impossible to have escaped hearing the word ‘Brexit’ (meaning Britain’s impending exit from the European Union) in recent months as the disbelief at the result of the vote gave way to dismay and concern over what this event could mean for our own shores. There have been many concerns regarding Irish workers working in the UK and commuting home at the weekend and vice versa as well as worries about the possibility of there being more stringent borders in place which could very negatively impact Irish trade.

Recently, it has been reported that these concerns may well be directly addressed before the planned exit. It has been suggested that British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to publish a policy paper on Anglo-Irish relations to suggest that the two countries adopt what is known as a ‘Schengen Area’. This would mean that there would be a unique border between the UK and Ireland allowing for ease of movement and trade, effectively creating their own union. This could be welcome news to many Irish workers in the United Kingdom. The move would allow citizens of both countries to freely work in the other, whilst citizens from other countries in the European Union may require work permits to work in the UK following Brexit. Our own Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has however stated in the past that he does not want to create any form of border, so it remains to be seen how this will be implemented.

It has also been stated that Britain are on track for a ‘hard Brexit’ meaning that there will be no softening of rules or lingering methods of inclusion once they depart and will be seen by the European Union as being a third party outside of EU law and customs. The drawback to this supposed ‘hard Brexit’ is that it does not allow for safeguards to be put in place for businesses reliant on trade with Britain, so the proposed policy could be welcome news to some Irish businesses.

It has been reported that British officials are now eager to get the ball rolling on Brexit negotiations in order to cement plans for the future relationship between the UK and EU member states. Brexit Minister David Davis has stated recently that;

“We need to get on with negotiating the bigger issues around our future partnership to ensure we get a deal that delivers a strong UK and EU.”

It is hoped that whether by this new policy, or through the overall negotiations that an agreement can be put in place that does not isolate Irish businesses or workers.

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

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

Dublin in the Blue Corner

The now infamous term ‘Brexit’ (meaning Britain’s exit from the European Union for anyone that may have been actively avoiding the news in recent months) is one that has long been met with apprehension and uncertainty from our shores. As a relatively small country we find ourselves somewhat reliant on our larger neighbour for certain amounts of trade and, as such we have been unsure of what this move would mean for Ireland’s continuing recovery as well as our own trade options.

There seems to be good news on the horizon this week however, as it was announced that according to research from Ernst & Young’s London office, Dublin is now the most preferred Brexit location for financial services companies. A move in this direction would be an incredibly positive one for Ireland, with Dublin already being somewhat of tech hub with companies like social media giant Facebook choosing to have their European head office here. This also places Dublin ahead of Europe’s current financial centre, Frankfurt which is a major boost to how Dublin is perceived in the financial sector.

Whilst Dublin may only be slightly ahead of Frankfurt, this is a significant indicator of positive movement following Brexit as the survey included 222 banks and other institutions, showing that Dublin is being considered as a real and viable option for European trading following Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union. It is reported that 19 companies mentioned Dublin as a potential destination they would consider moving operations to following Brexit.

In recent months, Ireland has already won out over our competitor Frankfurt in securing banking giants such as Barclays to our shores. There is of course no commitment attached to these findings, but it is encouraging to know that Ireland is one of the first options to come to mind for financial services companies in these uncertain times.

It is both a time of excitement and uncertainty for Ireland as Brexit approaches and should these companies put their contingency plan into action we may well see some positive changes for our country come as a result of this upheaval.

Should you require any help, guidance or assistance on any business or financial matters please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at EcovisDCA, or pay a visit to our new office where we are now all settled in and ready to be of assistance.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY