Monthly Archives: August 2016

Tips for Buying a Business

unduhan-84Apprenticeships are commonly perceived of as being only related to certain trades such as mechanics and builders. However, this simply reflects the limited options which have been on offer in Ireland and is not an accurate reflection of the broad range of areas for which apprenticeships can offer practical and high-level education. At a macro level, the skills gaps, high education dropout rates and high youth unemployment figures all indicate that an increased focus on apprenticeships in Ireland is the right way to go.

Earlier this year the Government launched Ireland’s National Skills Strategy (NSS) 2025, which is set to increase the number and scope of apprenticeships on offer. One of the aims of the NSS is a reform of the apprenticeship system, with a view to expanding participation and industry input. This is a welcome move for Ireland’s education system. Greater input from business and industry will be vital in creating an education system that will meet the needs of a modern economy and be capable of quickly responding to skill needs. Apprenticeships must form part of this system and, with plans to introduce new apprenticeships in the areas of IT, manufacturing and engineering among others, we are hopeful that this is on the way to being delivered. With Ireland’s apprenticeship programme set for expansion into new fields, it is time for both businesses and young people to consider the benefits these schemes can offer them.

A range of industries are set to benefit from the expansion in programmes, from IT to tourism and food. As Ireland moves to increase the number and scope of apprenticeships on offer, we must also seek to change attitudes and understanding of what apprenticeships can offer. They are much more than simply a route to a traditional construction industry job, and this year we will see new apprenticeship programmes introduced in areas as varied as culinary training and insurance practice.

Benefits for Employees and Employers

Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity for students interested in getting practical work-based experience as part of their education, while often also allowing them to earn as they learn.

They also offer many benefits to employers. The opportunity to invest in the future of a young person interested in working in your sector cannot be overlooked and apprenticeships can add excellent value to a business, especially an SME. Apprentices are a long term investment by a company and offer employers an opportunity to train new employees in specific practices and to shape their work habits, standards and culture to the particular business. While working within the business, an apprentice is continually acquiring applied knowledge and skills which meet occupational standards, with support from a training body.

Chambers Ireland is encouraged by the commitments of the National Skills Strategy on increasing the scope and availability of apprenticeships and we would encourage employers, particularly SMEs, to look at the opportunities an apprentice might bring and consider making this investment in both their business and the apprentice’s education and career.

What is The Potential Across the Irish Sea

The fall-out from the UK’s referendum on EU membership has created significant uncertainty for Irish businesses trading with the UK. Currency volatility, potential trade agreements, tariffs, duties and uncertainty in relation to the free movement of goods and people between Ireland and the UK are key considerations for Irish businesses with significant exposure to the UK market. In particular, the depreciation of sterling poses long-term challenges for Irish exporters whose revenues are sterling denominated but costs are euro denominated.

Amongst this cloud of uncertainty, opportunities exist for Irish companies. A UK acquisition can reduce currency exposure and provide a route for international expansion at a reduced cost.

Some of the key considerations for companies contemplating a strategic move into the UK include:

1. Acquisition – A Natural Hedge

The weakness in sterling creates an environment for companies to explore how most effectively they can hedge their currency exposure when supplying UK companies. AIB’s Chief Economist, Oliver Mangan, predicts that the euro-sterling exchange rate will remain volatile for the coming two-three years as the complex process of Brexit negotiations unfold.

For Irish companies with a large UK client base, exploring acquisition opportunities in the UK is a natural consideration when developing a solution to this currency exposure.

For UK companies seeking to position themselves ahead of the outcome of Brexit negotiations, acquiring an Irish company may provide a platform to facilitate continued access to EU markets or serve as a means of acquiring a new route to market or expansion of its customer base.

Other options which merit consideration alongside an acquisition-led growth strategy include mergers and joint ventures.

2. Expansion of Client Base at a Lower Price

UK acquisitions are currently significantly cheaper for euro-based investors following the depreciation of sterling post the 24th June vote. This is an important incentive for Irish corporates currently serving UK clients and for those with aspirations to enter the UK market.

An acquisition offers not only a hedge but also scope to acquire new customer relationships at a significantly faster pace than an organic growth strategy. In a post-Brexit environment, the UK will remain a significant economy in a European context. Therefore leveraging the opportunity to widen the customer base is an important strategic consideration in the current environment.

3. UK M&A Volumes and Valuations

The uncertainty posed by Brexit has affected the volume of M&A activity in the UK. A recent study1indicates that 495 transactions were announced in July 2016, a 5.5% drop on June and nearly a third lower than the same period in 2015. Despite the decline, these numbers clearly indicate that the UK remains open for M&A transactions.

Phone Number on The Advantages

Traditional telephony, where your phone calls are trafficked over physical lines, is dying out. The public switched telephone network (PSTN) has been decommissioned in some European countries, with end of life dates set for the near future in others. It is expected that the end date for Ireland will be announced soon.

The reason for this is IP telephony, or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This technology uses your broadband connection to traffic your phone calls and has long been accepted as the alternative to PSTN due to the real business benefits it can offer. Essentially it allows you to put your phone system and phone numbers into the “cloud” so they are not reliant on the physical PSTN to work.

How does this improve your business communications? Let’s take a look at five very real benefits.

1.    Flexible user management
For cloud phone numbers, the inevitable comings and goings of employees in an organisation pose no issues. If an employee leaves, assigning their old number to a new starter in your organisation can be done with a couple of clicks, no matter where they are based. They don’t need to sit at the same desk as the previous person and use the same phone cable. They don’t even need to be in the same office.

If someone needs to work remotely, either from home or while they travel for business, there’s no issue with them staying contactable via their same number. In its most basic setup, a cloud phone number is usually pointed at one or more devices i.e. your desk phone or a soft phone.

2.    Improve your operations
With a cloud system, you can put time of day rules in place with some simple clicks. This means that when someone calls out of office hours, you can play a specific message mentioning what the office hours are or perhaps providing them with an alternative contact method. You can prompt them to leave a voicemail afterward, or even redirect their call to that alternative contact number.

If a person calls within office hours, they can be directed to the receptionist or the boss or even given a full menu of options to choose from for each department. This is known as Interactive Voice Response (IVR).

Your organisation may have more than one “main” number. For example, your sales team might have its own general number as well as each sales rep having their own direct dial. When the sales line rings, it’s possible to set up which team member’s phone should call first, or perhaps all of them should. If the call goes unanswered for a period of time, you can redirect it to the team leader’s or manager’s phone.

The beauty of a cloud-based phone number is not that these services are simply available. They are available for PSTN numbers too (although it can be an arduous and expensive process). Rather, with a cloud phone number, these rules can be tweaked whenever needed by someone within your own organisation – no matter how many times they need to be changed.

3.    Get in-depth reporting
As your cloud phone number works via the internet, it is a lot easier for your virtual phone system to provide reporting data on your calls. Duration, date, number called or whether or not it was a transfer – all of this information is easily available.

You can use call recordings for training purposes, check the call performance of your in-house sales team or an individual user, or keep a tab on how many calls are coming in to your customer support team.

Reporting for a traditional phone system can be accomplished. However, it will be priced as an add-on to your service or you will need to contract a third party to provide you with the capability rather than have it included with your phone system. There will also be limitations on the information that can be provided.