BDO Optimism Index shows big companies are smiling, while the small ones grimace

13 June 2016

The Sunday Independent reports on the BDO Optimism Index latest findings.

Bigger companies are doing better than small businesses, according to new research. The number of large companies reporting higher activity levels almost doubled year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016, according to latest BDO Optimism Index, while smaller companies stagnated. 

The index, published quarterly, tracks business performance and the views of business leaders across Ireland. Some 65pc of mid-to-large companies reported a rise in business activity, up from 38pc during the same quarter last year, the biggest increase since the survey began. Micro and smaller businesses reported much weaker results.The number of micro companies reporting higher levels of business activity fell by 1pc, the first decrease since 2012. 

Exporters also fared poorly. First quarter export activity fell by the most since 2011 amid global market uncertainty and the threat of a British exit from the EU. 

However, exporters were bullish about their prospects in the second quarter of the year, with 55pc predicting higher levels of activity, a 1pc increase from the same period in 2015. Overall optimism continues to improve, up 5pc over the past year. 

“The latest BDO Optimism Index shows that while businesses are still growing, the expansion is now clearly being led by larger companies” according to BDO managing partner Michael Costello.

“The divergence between the larger and smaller business can be partly explained by funding for SMEs being harder to access and the increased exposure to personal financial issues.”