According to a quarterly survey by Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME), SMEs confidence is business is on all-time high.

The survey took opinions from 600 firms in Ireland. When compared to the previous quarter’s net figure of -11%, this year it is a positive net figure of 2%, with 28% of companies more optimistic about their prospects when compared to 26% who are less negative. It is for the first time in three years that the business optimism is on such high among Irish companies.

Other findings in survey
However, 18% of firms find the manufacturing sector was the most optimistic (+7% net), followed by services (+6% net) and then distribution (+2% net). Among all the others the retail sector was the most pessimistic of those surveyed (-21% net).

On asking how many of the firms believe the present economic situation to be ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, the percentage has fallen to 56%, down from 65% in the previous quarter.

61% of the firms believe that sales are down. But in the previous quarter 70% of the firms believed the same.

Future Expectations from SMEs
Meanwhile, 40% (up by 2% from previous survey) of respondents expect business conditions to improve over the next 12 months. It shows a significant improvement on the 23% from the corresponding survey in 2009. Two thirds of respondents viewed that present conditions threaten the viability of their businesses over the next 12 months.

The percentage of sales is up from 12% previously. Out of 600 firms which participated in the survey, quarter of them were involved in exporting. The survey showed that for the first time in about two and half years, SMEs reported an improvement in the value of exports, with 35% reporting increased values and 32% reporting deterioration.