New coins will cause havoc

Small and medium-sized businesses are ill-prepared for the introduction of euro coins when they join the other continental currencies as legal tender next year.

According to a survey by Grant Thornton and economic forecasting outfit Business Strategies, two in every five businesses across the EU’s 15 member countries have yet to understand the impact of the single currency.

UK companies fared well in the report, though there was still a quarter which had yet to undertake any kind of analysis of the effects of the currency changes.

Surprisingly, small and medium-sized businesses in Germany have done even less to assess the impact of the switch.

Despite the zeal of the German government to push through the move to a single currency, more than half (51%) of small businesses have ignored the issue – the highest of the EU countries.

Germany is also the most pessimistic nation as the 1 January 1999 date looms for the formal dual-tracking of the euro with existing currencies.

Ironically it is joined by companies in the other leader of the project, the Netherlands.

However, only a handful of UK firms have tinkered with their IT systems and brought them up to date – 6%, against 14% and 15% in France and the Netherlands respectively.

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