Business – SMEs must prepare for euro

Owners of small and medium-sized businesses were urged by the Liberal Democrats’ finance spokesman Malcolm Bruce to start preparing accounting systems for the euro, despite the government’s decision not to adopt it yet.

Bruce told a fringe meeting at his party’s Brighton conference on Monday that SMEs would be hit by the euro – whether the UK was in or out. The new currency is due to come into effect on 1 January for 11 European Union member states.

He said: ‘Polls of small businessmen suggested a majority are opposed, but would not be able to stop it any more than the tide. If you have a small business which has dealings with Europe, you will be deluding yourself if you think you will escape the euro by being in the UK.’

Some small firms would ‘almost certainly find foreign visitors in their shop asking to make credit card payments in euros’, claimed Bruce. ‘And other firms would find it convenient to maintain accounts in the euro to accept and make payments while avoiding foreign exchange charges.’

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