Majority of entrepreneurs expect return to normal trading in 12 months – EY

Survey results show close to half have cut staff

A majority of businesspeople anticipate a return to normal trading conditions within 12 months, according to a survey conducted professional services firm EY.

Some 60 per cent of entrepreneurs who previously competed in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme said they remain broadly positive, although they flagged challenges in the new business environment.

A third of respondents to the survey said they face challenges implementing social distancing protocols, for example.

The figures also show that while the entrepreneurs were positive about growing their staff headcount at the end of last year, some 47 per cent had actually reduced their headcount by May. Some 55 per cent do expect to increase staff numbers next year.


Tough decisions

"Many businesses across the island will no doubt be faced with very tough decisions about when it is safe and viable for them to reopen, and how business will look in the future," said EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme partner lead Roger Wallace.

“ As we hopefully move towards a wider reopening of the economy, it is important that the efforts private enterprise is making to restart continue to be supported by our financial institutions and our Government,” he added.

Three-quarters of the entrepreneurs surveyed said they’ve seen their revenues fall so far this year, while half expect to be in a position to increase revenues next year.

Separately, a survey from Taxassist Accountants of 400 small business across the country found that just over one third felt they couldn’t reopen at all or for a short period only if the number of customers allowed on site was severely curtailed due to social distancing measures.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business