In a New Year address the President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Ian Henry, has urged businesses to stay focused on meeting the formidable challenges ahead, which include dealing with the changes brought upon by Brexit and the ongoing trading restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He believes that businesses will have to be flexible and remain fleet of foot to survive and thrive in 2021.
Rethinking Tried & Trusted Business Models
He was quoted in an article by Emma Deighan in the Belfast Telegraph today, saying that businesses would grappling “with the changes brought by Brexit and further Covid-19 restrictions, with many having to rethink tried and trusted business models, supply chains and market strategies”.
He went on to say in the article that:
“2020 has been a year of disruption and frustration for so many businesses. As we enter 2021, businesses begin the year operating yet again under enhanced restrictions as a result of Covid-19.
“Our members want to be able to open without interruption, for their customers and suppliers to be able to come and go freely, for trade to recover and for confidence to return but we must do this safely and within the guidelines.
“Without a doubt, the arrival of mass vaccination gives our business communities hope for a better year in 2021.
“Even with a Brexit deal, firms face an enormous amount of change in terms of how they trade. Responsibility rests squarely with the UK government to provide crystal-clear guidance that lets businesses plan into 2021 and beyond. The alternative is a new year that begins with even greater turbulence for supply chains, trade and markets – and higher costs for us all, leaving us with a disadvantage.”
Businesses Trading Globally In 2021
On the ability of businesses to trade globally he said: “The expected digitalisation of work has been rapidly accelerated. There is now a need to amend the curriculum for subjects at all levels to include ‘systems skills’ such as ICT and data analytics alongside ‘human skills’ like empathy and strategy. We must invest in languages to support international trade, focusing most on those used in growing economies like Asia. The government must also urgently prioritise the retraining of young people within disrupted industries for other opportunities.”
“As they have done throughout the pandemic, business people are ready and willing to work collaboratively with the public, private, academic and voluntary sectors to build back a thriving economy for all.
All Sectors & Departments Must Work Together
“We call on the UK and Irish governments, the NI Executive and local authorities, academia and the voluntary sector to work together, regardless of location or political background, to make a better future a reality.”
He concluded: “With the New Year comes renewed energy and hope that the next 12 months will provide companies with the certainty, conditions and support they need to prosper.”
At WHR Accountants we are also here to give support to businesses in Northern Ireland. For more details on our range of business services give our team a call on 028 3752 2909.