Some 62% of medium to large-sized companies questioned by financial software house Coda thought they would be affected by the euro, but almost three quarters of them have yet to take any action to meet the deadline of 1 January 2002. The remaining 27% have no plans to alter their systems.
Although the sample size was small - just 67 firms - the findings are alarming. Tony Lock, senior analyst at Bloor Research, told CW360: "It's clear that Europe is the largest market and the euro is going to be used in 12 countries come January. It's inevitable that these companies will want to do business in Europe."
Coda's international marketing manager, David Turner, was also concerned at the findings. "It is a bit of a surprise how many people haven't yet done anything," he said.
Lock said that companies who had not yet started their euro compliancy work were "cutting it fine". Many organisations wrongly believe the euro will not be an issue for them, and will find themselves struggling with non-euro compatible systems, he added. Companies with staff travelling in Europe would need to make sure their expense systems are compliant, for example, he said.
Coda's Turner added that companies issuing invoices to organisations in the euro zone would have to issue them in euros from November to take account of payment periods. "That means you've only got five weeks," he said.
The banking sector has made the most progress, according to the European Commission. Work on converting bank accounts is proceeding well, the Commission said, and four out of five ATMs will be converted to the euro by the January 2002 deadline.