Nearly half of SMEs believe Brexit will have no impact on business

Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Alastair Blair, Country Managing Director, Accenture Ireland and Adam Kelly, Managing Director, Financial Services, Accenture Ireland, at a business breakfast hosted by Accenture Ireland, which examined how various industries are beginning to address the challenges and opportunities Brexit poses.

Almost half (45pc) of Irish small and medium-sized firms believe Brexit will have no impact on their business, according to a new study by Accenture.

The research, which surveyed 200 SMEs across the island of Ireland, found a third of respondents anticipated a negative effect on their business, amd 15pc anticipated a positive impact.

Businesses should concentrate on fundamentals like customer service and digital innovation, in an effort to mitigate risk, the consultancy firm's managing director for Ireland, Alastair Blair, said.

"Our research shows that the impending exit of the UK from the European Union brings mixed opinions from SMEs, pointing to the difficulty Irish businesses are facing in navigating an uncertain economic environment," Mr Blair said.

"The reality is that Brexit will have profound implications for Irish businesses, small and large, across every sector of the economy.

"Irish business leaders need to be proactive, take control and act now to assess their preparedness for the predicted changes and begin making plans to address the challenges and leverage the opportunities."

Asked about the areas likely to be affected by a hard Brexit, more than third expected rises in import and export costs.

Just under a third of respondents expected greater regulatory obligations.

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