Three in 10 SMEs are mulling job cuts, says ACCA Ireland

Cashflow concerns are weighing on businesses, accounting body reports

Business accounting concept, Business man using calculator with computer laptop, budget and loan paper in office.

Business accounting concept, Business man using calculator with computer laptop, budget and loan paper in office.

 

Almost 30 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are considering job cuts to stay financially viable, according to research from accounting body ACCA Ireland.

Cashflow was identified as the biggest concern for three-quarters of businesses, while 12.5 per cent said the increased cost of trading was the most pressing issue they faced.

The findings are based on a survey of small and medium-sized accountancy practices and reflects the sentiment of some 7,000 of their SME clients, ACCA Ireland said.

The issues encountered by SMEs across the Irish economy since the start of the Covid-19 crisis has resulted in some 94 per cent of small accountancy practices increasing their workloads as they seek to help their clients cope, the research also found.

“This research reflects the challenges that SMEs face at this time,” said head of ACCA Ireland Caitriona Allis.

“One of the key issues highlighted in the results is uncertainty around cashflow, which inevitably impacts SMEs’ ability to plan in both the short and medium term.”

Job loss risk

While support measures announced by the Government in relation to both the pandemic and Brexit have served as “a welcome relief” for many SMEs and been effective in alleviating some of the pressure on their businesses, Ms Allis added, the risk of job losses remains.

“Challenges persist and business overheads such as rent and utilities remain a heavy burden on cashflow and there is growing concern amongst many SMEs that they will have to make redundancies in the coming months,” she said.

“ACCA, as trusted advisers to SMEs, will continue to support Government by providing insights as they seek to address and balance the challenges of public health and the economy in unprecedented circumstances.”