Taking care of (Irish) business

green leaf plant close-up photo

There has always been a push within Ireland to buy Irish and support local businesses, but with the economic damage wreaked by lockdown and the new normal forced on us all by COVID-19, businesses owned and managed by local entrepreneurs need us to recognise their value more than ever.

Multinational employers attract a lot of attention might but it is the SME sector that is the lifeblood of our economy. According to the SME Recovery Initiative, small and medium sized enterprises account for 99.8% of active enterprises, produce 30% of our total exports and are responsible for two thirds of employment.

Every euro spent with an Irish SME has a much greater impact on the economy than when spent with an overseas company. SMEs spend locally, creating a huge ripple effect in terms of local jobs, goods, services and infrastructure far beyond that of the company you do business with. In the same way, buying accounting software locally is better for both you and your business partners.

As well as being good for the economy, it makes financial sense to use an accounting system that has been developed specifically in response to the needs of Irish companies. No sensible business would ever hand over its records to an accounting software company that had no insight into the nature of the business. So why use accounting software from a company that does not understand how our tax system works and is not supported by people who are experts in Irish taxation?

One size doesn’t fit all. For example, our VAT system is complex and expensive – we pay high levels of VAT compared to the rest of Europe and mistakes can be financially painful. Thanks to the global pandemic, working from home is also going to become commonplace – fewer than 12% of the business surveyed by the Institute of Directors in Ireland recently believed all  their staff would be working on site again once lockdown is lifted.

If remote working does become more widespread, entrepreneurs will have to change their thinking to make sure their businesses continue to thrive under these new conditions. Every country is dealing with coronavirus in a different way, so it makes sense to look for an accounting software partner that understand the local market and what impact these changes will bring for Irish businesses and their employees.

Remote working means local support has become more mission critical. Customers who run into problems need to talk to a business partner who understands the environment they are operating in and can come up with appropriate solutions. Software companies based outside Ireland are simply not in the position to do that.

Now, more than ever, customers need to talk to human beings, people who value their relationship and care that their accounts run smoothly. Online access to information is still important, but it is not enough.

The economic impact of Covid-19 has left many businesses reeling and facing cash flow problems. It was never a good idea to pay attention to your accounts only for a few days a year, but it is now vital for companies to keep an eye on their books every day and to be able to make quick decisions.