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Euro - firms warned time is running out for changeover Back  
Warnings of widespread lack of preparation as over 60 p.c. opt for Jan 1st changeover date
Lack of euro change-over preparation could undermine Ireland’s competitiveness as a location for business and result in losses through mispricing and lost business according to a revierw of advisers in the area by Finance.
Lost revenues of up to 30 p.c. are predicted from getting the changeover wrong. Writing in this month’s edition Vince D’Arcy of Deloitte and Touche estimates that errors in stating prices in euros may result in losses of the order of 27 per cent.

He warned that many companies are far from prepared and said that there remainssmany misconceptions about what firms should be doing.

‘Organisation may be forced into a situation where IT systems are not ready to handle euro transactions for the 1st of January 2002 and may have to revert to using manual procedures. Thanks to our reliance on computers in today’s business environment there are obviously considerable risks associated with this course of action. Consideration should be given to the additional time required to deals with transactions manually and the scope for human error in dealing with the conversion of figures from Irish pounds to euros. Misstatement of Irish pound figures as euros may result in losses of up to 27 per cent.'

This comes at a time when the EU Commission has called for euro notes and coins to be issued at an earlier stage. The European Parliament said that Euroland is not prepared for the euro changeover and called for countries to be allowed to distribute notes and coins earlier to avoid bottlenecks. Latest European figures show that only one in four within the SME sector are prepared for the changeover.

Yvonne Cullen of the Fof?s EMU campaign echoes D’Arcy’s fears. She too warned against euro complacency. ‘A of warning - do not under-estimate the time and effort involved. There are clear competitive, efficiency and cost advantages in completing the initial planning steps as soon as possible, and delaying preparations may well prove costly.’

Meanwhile Ray Nulty and John Shuttleworth of IBM said that the poor preparation of Irish companies for the euro changeover ‘will undermine the attactiveness of Ireland as a location’ for business. They were speaking at the recent IBM presentation The Euro is the oil in the engine of the EMU and warned that with only 20 per cent prepared so far that many people still assumed that euro changeover was just an IT issue. They went on to say that many corporate and public sector organisation do not fully understand the business issues and predicted that there would be significant commercial fallout and chaos from the changeover.

Meanwhile T?naiste Mary Harney has urged Irish businesses to redouble their efforts for euro changeover - as recent figures from Forf?s show that many businesses are only now becoming aware of the problem have yet to take the actions that are now a matter of urgency.

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