We all know the age old saying “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” as one that is consistently thrown around as a saying to live and work by. Here at DCA Accountants we are firm believers in planning ahead and the manner in which forward planning can have a tremendously positive effect on the day-to-day running of your business. Today we will be speaking about a new regulation, which won’t come into full effect until April 2018, but which will require thinking and planning ahead in order to ensure a smooth transition.

As of April 14th 2016, the EU has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation. This regulation is one by which is intended to strengthen and unify data protection regulations for all individuals within the EU. The regulation will also address the export of personal data outside of the EU, a clause which may have interesting repercussions for Ireland in the wake of Britain’s shock departure from the European Union. The EU aims to cut red tape for businesses in the EU by ensuring that there be one set of rules for all to follow. This new regulation will also aim to protect the data of all residents and workers of the European Union.

This regulation will require business owners to be aware and knowledgeable about its effects before finally coming into action in April 2018 following four years of negotiation. Under these new rules individuals will have more control over how their personal data is processed as data protection will now be as default and will require consent. What this means for business owners is that there will be a need for a higher level of vigilance in terms of dealing with the personal data of employees or clients as there will now be more accountability placed on companies regarding the use of personal data. The repercussions of a failure to comply can amount to a fine of up to 4% of the company’s global annual turnover, meaning that this is an issue which will need to be prepared for in order to avoid costly errors.

One highly recommended way to prepare for this incoming regulation would be to review the entire data protection plan for the business and create a new classification scheme in order to ensure that all personal data will be managed effectively and according to the new guidelines. This will also ensure a full and working knowledge about where this data is kept at all times. A risk-based approach is also recommended when dealing with personal data. This requires data sources to be separated into different risk categories in order to assess a better management system.

These new regulations have been a long time coming, and wont yet come into effect until April 2018, however it is important to have any possible data issues ironed out before this date in order to avoid penalties. Should you require any assistance or guidance on these or any other business matters, 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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Irish businesses remain slow to tap online shoppers – but selling through the internet is easier than you’d think.


According to many futurists, digital commerce will slowly but surely outpace – and perhaps eradicate – retail as we know it. However, it seems that Irish companies haven’t been getting the message. According to a study by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, only 22% of Irish small and medium enterprises trade online.

That may not seem life a problem, but the online spend of Irish consumers is on course to reach €13bn by 2020. In other words, if you’re selling to consumers without selling online, those companies that are trading digitally – whether from Ireland or abroad – are making inroads into your business.

Luckily, the process of setting up safe and reliable e-commerce is far easier than it used to be. A few key principles will help you make the transition well.


Simple, Safe Solution

Once upon a time, setting up an e-commerce site was a major project involving a huge amount of investment and a bespoke solution from your web design firm. However, the barriers to entry have fallen as more firms adopt online selling. At the most basic level, Squarespace offers a simple and cheap way to get an elegant website – and take orders – quickly. More advanced solutions are also cheaper than before thanks to affordable payment providers such as Paypal. Whether you’re happy to use an off-the-peg site, or want a web design firm to design something a bit more special, make sure the solution for shoppers is straightforward and affordable.


Customer Service

Next to price, good customer service is an online shopper’s key consideration – in fact, at its best, good service can outweigh cost for many consumers. So you should gear up your business to provide service for online shoppers – that means a clear selling and delivery process for online transactions, and clarity within your organisation about who looks after this area.

It’s not enough, however, just to have excellent service – your shoppers need to be aware of it too. Having a telephone number that customers can call – not just an ‘info@’ email address – reassures online shoppers. So too does a postal address. Also, as soon as you have some customer testimonials to share through your website, do so.


Know the Law

Some new EU regulations governing online selling have come into force, so it’s vital to be compliant with them. If you trade with customers within the EU, products or services purchased must be delivered within 30 days of the customer making the order unless they agree otherwise. If you won’t be able to deliver on this, you must inform the consumer who then must agree a revised date of delivery. In the EU, customers can cancel or withdraw from a purchase without giving any reason within 14 working days of making the order – as a trader, you must then refund any money paid within 14 days. You can only levy charges based on the cost of returning the goods.

You can no longer charge customers extra for paying by a particular method of payment – such as by credit card – than the costs actually incurred by you. Also, if you operate a telephone hotline, you can no longer chare more than the basic telephone rate for the telephone calls.


Getting set up to take and fulfil orders online isn’t an expensive or hugely laborious task. It just calls for a bit of organisations and effort, which should hopefully position you to tap a growing digital economy.


Eamonn Garvey

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