Ac­coun­tants call for Brexit Min­is­ter to be ap­pointed

Pre­par­ing for the UK-EU split is num­ber one pri­or­ity for a third of re­spon­dents to an in­dus­try body sur­vey, writes Si­mon Rowe

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

A MA­JOR­ITY of Ir­ish ac­coun­tants want a ded­i­cated Brexit Min­is­ter ap­pointed by the Gov­ern­ment, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey.

A to­tal of 68pc of ac­coun­tants polled said that a ded­i­cated Cabi­net min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity for Brexit should be ap­pointed as a mat­ter of ur­gency by the next Taoiseach.

In a sur­vey by the In­sti­tute of Cer­ti­fied Pub­lic Ac­coun­tants in Ire­land, its 5,000 mem­bers were asked what their num­ber-one pri­or­ity was for the in­com­ing Taoiseach.

Al­most a third (29pc) of re­spon­dents iden­ti­fied “pre­par­ing for Brexit”, while a fur­ther 15pc spec­i­fied help­ing SMES through Brexit. But the vast ma­jor­ity stressed the need for a Brexit Min­is­ter to deal with Bri­tain’s exit from the EU.

Com­ment­ing on the re­sults, CPA Ire­land pres­i­dent Deirdre Kiely, pic­tured, said: “It is un­sur­pris­ing that Brexit topped the list of pri­or­i­ties for our mem­bers, but we are call­ing on the new Taoiseach to put a re­newed fo­cus on SMES in light of Brexit and given that over 99pc of en­ter­prises in Ire­land are SMES em­ploy­ing nearly 70pc of all peo­ple em­ployed.

“Around 85pc of en­ter­prises sur­vive one year in busi­ness, with around 65pc sur­viv­ing five years and given the em­ploy­ment gen­er­ated by SMES we need to en­sure that we main­tain or im­prove th­ese rates.

“With the cloud of Brexit ap­proach­ing, it is also a sec­tor that has sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges.”

The ac­coun­tants’ body wants more fund­ing to be given to En­ter­prise Ire­land to sup­port SMES and it is de­mand­ing ac­tion on what it calls “tax dis­crim­i­na­tion” against peo­ple who are self-em­ployed. “Ac­cess to credit con­tin­ues to be a strug­gle for busi­ness and was iden­ti­fied by our mem­bers as their top con­cern for SMES,” said Kiely. “The new Taoiseach must fi­nally end the tax dis­crim­i­na­tion against the self-em­ployed, which has been promised for years, but been slow to ma­te­ri­alise. It is one of the big­gest bar­ri­ers to en­trepreneur­ship and one of the eas­i­est to solve. “SMES are the largest provider of em­ploy­ment in the coun­try. “In spite of the much-mer­ited at­ten­tion af­forded to our FDI com­pa­nies, it is SMES who have the great­est po­ten­tial to de­liver growth in the fu­ture. “So­cial en­ter­prises for ex­am­ple, have the po­ten­tial to de­liver 40,000 new jobs and 84pc of mem­bers favour a more proac­tive ap­proach from the Gov­ern­ment in the area of so­cial en­ter­prise.”

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