The Big Question – 75% not ready for euro

Almost three-quarters of UK businesses are still not prepared for the euro, according to their finance directors, writes Ben Griffiths.

The Big Question survey, carried out by Accountancy Age and Reed Accountancy Personnel, found that 74% of FDs believed their organisations remained unready for the new European currency.

Of these, almost half said they would not be prepared by 1999, or were unable to say if they would be ready.

Among those FDs who said they were taking steps to be ready, Jim Goodliffe, FD of JS Humidifiers, said: ‘Our current objective is to ensure all systems will be ready by the end of 1998 and that we will have a euro currency account for trading by 1 January 1999.’

Many FDs taking no action felt their organisations would be unaffected by the euro’s introduction. ‘Most of our business is in the UK,’ was a typical comment.

Despite the apparent lack of preparation in the majority of companies, 26% of FDs said their firms were already geared up for the euro. ‘About 70% of our trade is in foreign currencies, hence we have to be prepared,’ said David Weldrake of textile company W Fein.

The survey emerged as Ernst & Young published guidance on the tax consequences arising from the introduction of the euro and the business decisions that firms will have to make.

E&Y examined fictional companies to show how firms may be affected and to indicate what new tax-planning business people could consider.

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