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UK firms at risk from euro complacency

Mike Simons
British companies are in danger of severely underestimating the impact of the euro on their business, according to financial advisors Grant Thornton.

The company's tenth annual European Business survey published last month revealed that 87% of small and medium sized firms in the UK did not think the introduction of the continent-wide currency would affect their business.

"Whether the UK joins the euro currency or not, it is going to become a reality that will affect businesses. From the results of our survey it is clear that that the government has not done enough to inform UK businesses," said Paul Andrews author of Grant Thornton's new SME Handbook.

The handbook contains a ten-point checklist for SMEs preparing to cope with the new currency.

1. Open a euro bank account to help you make and receive payments in euros

2.
Create a euro price list designed for customers in the euro zone

3.
Confirm that your IT system can produce the euro symbol

4.
Check whether you need to re-write existing contracts with euro zone suppliers to quote in euros

5.
Consider re-printing your marketing materials to quote in euros

6.
If you employ staff in the euro zone, check out opportunities to save money by centralising your payroll system

7.
Ensure that all staff are fully aware of your euro policy and are briefed to communicate a consistent message

8.
Find out whether your IT system can cope with converting exchange rates to six decimal places

9.
If you have staff operating in different countries consider whether there will be pressure to harmonise wages throughout Europe

10.
Review your business development strategy in light of the change

The handbook is available from www.grant-thornton.co.uk

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