Monday 23 September 2019

Regulatory red tape an obstacle to SME growth

The survey was carried out among businesses across all sectors
The survey was carried out among businesses across all sectors

Colm Kelpie

The vast majority of small and medium sized companies in Ireland (SMEs) believe the cost of regulation is too high and needs to be tackled, a new survey suggests.

The study of more than 300 businesses, due to be officially launched this morning, found that one in three firms believe the regulatory burden in Ireland is an obstacle to growth, recruitment and innovation.

David Williams, head of financial services at corporate law firm LK Shields, which commissioned the research, said the company sees first hand the burden red tape places on businesses of all sizes in Ireland.

"We acknowledge and support the necessity of robust regulation in all business sectors, but we also firmly believe that much greater efficiencies can be achieved without letting regulatory standards slip, particularly when it comes to the administrative burden of compliance," Mr Williams said.

"Our Red Tape Survey will hopefully spark much-needed debate and action to resolve the issues highlighted."

LK Shields said the research was commissioned to gain a better understanding of how compliance obligations and regulation affects Irish businesses.

The survey was carried out among businesses across all sectors, including the service, retail, finance, manufacturing and construction industries, employing more than 250 people. But the vast majority of responses came from those employing between 25 and 99 workers.

Of companies with less than 100 staff, 70pc believe there is too much red tape involved in doing business in Ireland, while the figure is less, at 47pc, for companies with more than 100 staff. Just over 40pc of firms with less than 100 staff undertand the need for regulation, although that rises to 68pc for larger companies.

A massive 87pc of smaller companies feel a process is needed to reduce the cost burden, while 72pc of those over 100 employees agree. And 35pc of firms under 100 staff feel that the cost of regulation has increased over the last year.

Ibec's Aidan Sweeney said there is unnecessary regulatory and administrative costs to conducting business in Ireland.

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