We present Grant Thornton’s Irish Business Voice Programme report, in partnership with local Chambers of Commerce in Ireland. 2021 has been a year of great change for many businesses, and it’s encouraging to see high levels of optimism for the future amongst Irish firms.

At the time of issuing this report, the country is beginning its return to the office on a phased basis. For many firms, this will mark a turning point in a return towards business as usual, in whatever form that will take.

Despite the challenges that still exist, and lingering headwinds from Brexit, Irish firms have shown remarkable resilience and optimism, as captured in the survey of 264 firms nationwide. Notwithstanding the fact that this crisis has been unequal in its impact across different industries, our analysis has found that one quarter of firms have seen their turnover has increased over the past year, in stark contrast to just over half of respondents experiencing a negative impact on their revenues.

We have examined the responses through a number of different lenses, such as firm turnover, number of employees, sector, and ownership structure, to provide insight into the nuances of how different firms have been impacted, and their ambitions for the year ahead.

This report delves into which sectors have been hardest hit, and which have fared best. The analysis of the findings has been summarised into six key areas of note, where we explore three areas of deep concern for businesses, and how they may take action to mitigate some of their worst effects.

Interestingly, the area of chief concern amongst Irish firms is on business process inefficiencies, and there appears to be an unmet need for guidance in the area. The other two areas of key concern identified are, understandably, firms’ recovery from the impact of COVID-19, and the much discussed topic of getting access to a skilled workforce.