By Beatrice Whelan, Social Media & Content Specialist at Sage
The results of the Sage Business Index present a detailed picture of what it is like to do business in Ireland.
The survey results show that Ireland is in a better place than many European economies. 41% of businesses in Ireland are more confident about their prospects than six months prior to the survey. Confidence in Ireland has clearly been affected by the Eurozone crisis, with 82% of businesses saying it has had an impact.
On a more positive note, Irish businesses recognize that there are a range of factors which make Ireland an attractive place to do business. 63% of respondents cited the access to Ireland’s skilled workforce as one of the most favourable aspects to doing business here. 43% also chose Ireland’s favourable tax regime and 41% Ireland’s business culture and entrepreneurial spirit.
This infographic summarises the results of the Business Index Survey and you can download the entire report here.
By Beatrice Whelan, Social Media & Content Specialist at Sage
When Olwen Dawe became a Sage Business Expert one of the first things I wanted to talk to her about was her work as an advocate of female entrepreneurship. Olwen is currently Secretary and Vice President Designate of Network Ireland. She was an ambassador for female entrepreneurship on the Ulster Bank “Business Women Can” initiative in 2012. Olwen regularly speaks at and chairs events / seminars focused on enterprise development – such as the European Commission’s programme for female entrepreneurship. Here is my recent interview with Olwen about all things related to female entrepreneurs.
You are an advocate of female entrepreneurship and you’re involved in various programmes to promote female entrepreneurship can you talk about one which you think has been the most effective?
Every programme has its own merits based on their specific objectives… as the orchestrators, managers and advisors involved in them, we need to be conscious of varying needs and changing times. Programmes often need to be less prescriptive and more lean, responsive – and this is really driven by the specific group you’re serving.
By Sinéad Hayes Sales & Marketing Manager, Advent
I recently met up with a Sage 50 user, Tom who runs a medium sized distribution business. Tom has been using the software for many years. His company just loves the software – in his opinion it is so easy to use and has really helped the business to get to where it is today.
So, we chatted more about the business, the challenges they face and the opportunities that lie ahead. Tom has worked in the business a long time (although he would not give me any specific number!) and it is apparent that he along with his team is driven, focused and passionate about the business.
As we evolved the conversation into looking ahead to the future, it became apparent that Sage 50 really wasn’t going to be a long term solution. Cracks are beginning to appear and although it is all working fine at the moment, Tom was concerned about a few areas in particular. What if I add another 1, 2 or 3 users? Tom’s Sage 50 is already at 9 users, so adding a few more licenses will mean he will soon reach a cul-de-sac as 10 is the maximum.
By Beatrice Whelan, Social Media & Content Specialist at Sage
What an exciting year 2012 was from a social media perspective. What will 2013 hold and what should you be including in your social media strategy for 2013? A lot of these trends have already emerged in 2012 but will become more pronounced in 2013.
1. Social Is Digital
While 2011 and 2012 saw a lot of businesses questioning if they should use social media, in 2013 social media will become such an integral part of the online landscape that social will be a fundamental part of all serious online strategies. Those businesses that don’t see this will see an impact on their business results. Social media is no longer a choice for those engaged in digital marketing. We are now at the late majority/laggard stage of the Innovation Curve for social media.
In 2013 we will also see a shift towards a greater and deeper understanding of social from everyone engaged in digital marketing. PPC specialists, for example, will start to become social advertising specialists or at least have that as a major part of their skill set.
2. Facebook Finally Faces Search (and other challenges)
By the end of 2013 there will be 1.3 to 1.5 billion people using Facebook. Facebook has a lot of plans for the coming year. In late 2012 and moving into 2013 Facebook Gifts will transform F-commerce. 2013 will also be the year that Facebook moves into social search with rumours that Facebook are developing their own search engine to rival that of Google’s.
Facebook have recently changed their EdgeRank algorithm so that business pages have their posts seen by less of their Facebook fans. This is undoubtedly to encourage more promoted posts but my own opinion is that they will need to tweak this more in 2013 to give people the right balance of content in their news feed and keep brands interested in using Facebook. I also predict a trend toward less frequent use of Facebook as people get bored and login to Facebook less often unless Facebook find a way to keep people interested.
3. Social TV – It’s Already Here
We have already seen X Factor making great use of social media platforms like Twitter. As the shows unfolds, the audience ‘live blogs’ the show, making updates to Twitter. People not able to tune in can follow the entire show by just watching their Twitter feed. Here in Ireland watching the Twitter feed about the Late Late Show can be vastly more entertaining than watching the show itself at times and in 2012 we saw a tweet have dramatic impact on a TV presidential debate.
Social television will become a massive marketing phenomenon in 2013 as shows engage their viewers by urging them to do what they are already doing. Of course this is not excluded to TV, we are already seeing interviewers on radio programs taking questions from Twitter to put to interviewees.
By Sean McSweeney, Tax Director at Quintas
The only certainty in the upcoming budget on the 5th December is that in 2013 there will be further taxes increases (direct and indirect) and public spending cuts of approximately € 3.5bn to € 4bn. This will leave the budgeted deficit of the exchequer in 2013 of circa € 10.5 bn.
We have compiled below some of our predictions of the likely tax changes in the budget and some of our suggestions that we feel would assist the economy and in turn businesses recover in 2013.
- Capital Gains Tax – Retirement relief and the tax free threshold of € 750,000 may be reduced.
- Capital Acquisitions Tax – for Business and Agricultural relief it is likely that both of these maybe reduced or restricted (current relief at 90%).
- Pension Fund limit – the current ceiling of € 2.3m will be reduced and there maybe a reduction in the current 25% tax free lump sum that can be taken on retirement.
- Higher Income Earners – given the governments commitment not to increase income tax rates, there could be further increases in the USC for incomes above € 100,000/€ 150,000
- New tax on high value pensions – this could involve an increase in the current pension levy or a tax/surcharge on pensions over a certain value.
- Capital Gains Tax losses – given the losses incurred on investments over the last few years there maybe a restriction on the carry forward of losses against future capital gains.
- Property Tax – this will be in place in 2013 with a projected start date of 1st July 2013. There is currently a debate as regards how this will be calculated but it will probably be based on a valuation of the property with bands of approx € 50,000. To view the current value of properties sold in your area click the link to the Residential Property Register website .
- Old Reliables – increases in excise on alcohol, tobacco, petrol/diesel, carbon tax. Given the continued contraction in the domestic economy in 2012 it would be surprising if the VAT rates were increased but this could be on the table.
Launch of Sage 50 Accounts Pulse creates a new era of Connected Computing for SMBs.
9th November 2012 – Business software and services provider, Sage Ireland, today unveiled one of the Ireland’s first business apps to be made available on Windows 8 – Sage 50 Accounts Pulse.
Sage’s pioneering app has been designed to deliver top-line financial information to Owner Managers and company Directors, who don’t necessarily have accounts software expertise but who need to monitor cash flow, profit and loss, customers, and suppliers.
With its friendly and intuitive interface, Sage 50 Accounts Pulse gives users greater financial control and effortless business insight on demand.
“At Sage, we are focused on giving our customers the freedom, confidence and control they need to achieve their business ambitions,” explained Lee Perkins, Managing Director of Sage UK’s Small Business Division. “Our technology agenda has always been driven by innovation that responds to customer needs and we believe Windows 8 has the potential to transform how businesses can search and share data and enjoy unprecedented value from Connected Computing. This app not only allows existing customers, but also new users in a wider variety of roles, to access the data they need in an easy, meaningful way, whenever and wherever they choose, enabling them to do their job even better and to efficiently manage their business.”
Jay Paulus, director of product marketing, SMB, Windows, Microsoft Corp. added, “We are confident that Sage’s business software and services will help extend next-generation mobility to small and midsize businesses across the world. Sage’s innovative and intuitive apps are a great example for how businesses can benefit from Windows 8.”
By Trish McGrath, Marketing Manager, Sage Ireland
When Sage Pay acquired Integral Computers Limited, a provider of card present payments, who are based in Dun Laoghaire it was a key step by Sage Pay in developing their existing strategy of offering fully integrated payment services to allow businesses to accept payments anytime, anywhere, anyway.
And today following the rebrand of Integral Computers to Sage Pay, sees the establishment of Ireland’s largest multi-channel payments provider, combining Integral’s 20 years of experience in the cardholder present market with Sage Pay’s extensive experience as a leading e-commerce payment gateway.
In this interview, Sean Wilson, Managing Director, Sage Pay Ireland provides us with some further insights on the background of the rebrand and what it means for merchants and retailers in Ireland.
By Beatrice Whelan, Social Media and Content Specialist at Sage
We spoke to Terry Clune, founder of Connectireland about their recent initiative to bring investment to Ireland.
Hi Terry, your most recent project is ConnectIreland which was launched in March 2012. What is Connect Ireland?
ConnectIreland is a crowdsourcing inspired initiative asking individuals to use their contacts, family, friends and business connections, to identify and make introductions between ConnectIreland and overseas companies who are considering international expansion. Any individual who introduces a company that subsequently invests in Ireland and creates new jobs will receive a minimum reward from the Irish Government. For each job created the introducer will receive of €1,500 per job, up to a maximum of 100 jobs.
How many people have registered on the site to date?
Almost 15,000 people worldwide have visited the website and over 5,000 people have liked our inspirational YouTube video featuring Irish-American Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley, Hollywood veteran Martin Sheen and emerging young Irish actress Saoirse Ronan. We have received interest from all over the world, but in particular from North American which has traditionally been a good investor in Ireland and its people. Since our launch date on March 8th ConnectIreland has over 40 high end potential investors in its pipeline as a result of introductions made by people in Ireland and overseas. ConnectIreland is also using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to inform audiences worldwide about the initiative but also to communicate good news stories about Ireland.
As published in the Sunday Business Post on 25th March 2012.
Businesses need to become more agile to survive and thrive in the emerging new economy. The last few years have all been about battening down the hatches, scrutinising the cost base and trying to make more savings. But with the ESRI forecasting some growth this year and the suggestion that green shoots are slowly appearing, there’s good reason for businesses to look ahead with more optimism. There’s only so long a business can put off investing in new technology before the effects damage the long-term prospects of the company, rather than save it money.The time to stick is over, according to Peter O’Rourke, head of channel and corporate division, Sage Ireland.
‘‘In order to be competitive in what’s coming down the track, you are going to have to have the tools to make you more agile,’’ he said. ‘‘You are going to have to respond more quickly and efficiently to your customers, and be more dynamic with product development cycles.’’ He paints a picture of a truly global economy, where a competitor could be in China as well as round the corner. ‘‘Everything is happening faster and bigger. At Sage, we see ourselves as drivers of change, efficiency and ultimately growth.We partner our customers, helping them to survive and thrive in a fast changing world.’’
By David O’Reilly Head of Product Marketing at Sage Ireland
Evolution. Now there’s a big idea. But it’s a big idea driven by a very simple one; the drive to do things better. We see this in the evolution of computing. The capabilities get ever better, bigger and more powerful. Yet there’s also this interesting trajectory going on, where the bigger the capabilities get, the neater and sleeker the operating experience becomes. It’s a weird but cool inversion of scale. Systems become more powerful but also more manageable. Users can do more than ever, yet with more autonomy. They have more ability but they also become more free; free to travel light, free of the baggage of storage and the weight of hardware.It’s like everything evolves with a sleek and beautiful economy. And the evolution doesn’t stop. In fact, all this is possible because we are already deep into a new phase of the computing evolution. We are deep into the cloud.
At it’s very simplest, anything you do, communicate or store beyond your firewall is ‘in the cloud’. Cloud computing means you can use vast and huge capabilities but keep your own software, training and infrastructure to a minimum. Servers are virtual. Platforms offer perfect accessibility. No-one yet knows where integration in the cloud can take us. As yet, the horizons of cloud computing are distant. We know only that it will inform every aspect of our technological future and it is already guiding the present. And where the future goes, Sage is happy to lead.