Businesses Not Making The Most of Digital Opportunities

Small and medium businesses need to embrace digital opportunities in order to compete globally, an influential accounting body has warned. A Europe-wide report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has said that many business measures including e-commerce, e-invoicing and cloud computing are not being embraced by SMEs in Northern Ireland.

The survey ‘A digital agenda for European SMEs’ polled ACCA’s European members who work in the SME sector and revealed a lack of awareness as an obstacle to more small firms adopting digital solutions and services.

Worries were also expressed about the security surrounding cloud computing.

Ronnie Patton, president of ACCA Ireland said that in Northern Ireland, where the economy is heavily dependent on the SME sector, ignoring the benefits of digital assistance could have dire consequences

“Small to medium sized enterprises are at the core of our economy, accounting for 98% of businesses in Northern Ireland culminating in 67% of our total workforce,” he said.

“There are real advantages for our SMEs to embrace the digital economy. Advances in IT such as cloud computing and e-invoicing has the potential for Northern Ireland based companies to gain competitive advantage over its global counterparts through the potential to achieve cost effectiveness, operational efficiencies and scalability.

“A vibrant export industry is vital in delivering a robust economy for Northern Ireland. I believe a collaborative approach is essential to raise awareness amongst SMEs of the competitive advantage that the digital sector can provide.

“Banks, policy makers, accountants and the European Commission have a key, and joined up role, to play in engaging and reassuring the SME sector on the merits and potential success of IT and the digital world.”