Wednesday 22 November 2017

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

CPA Ireland president Deirdre Kiely
CPA Ireland president Deirdre Kiely

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 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."

Sunday Indo Business

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