Many of the following tips are practical and easily implementable. Some you will know or have heard before but they will give you the impetus to focus on your own finances to start saving money now when it really matters.

Jarlath’s story is one of several from a host of well-known faces in Ireland and the UK participating in Royal London’s ‘Lost for Words’ digital exhibition, in partnership with renowned photographer Rankin, see

Trevor Grant, Chairperson of the Association of Independent Mortgage Advisors explains that getting mortgage approval during a pandemic isn’t hugely different to the pre-pandemic process, provided your circumstances haven’t changed. However, some banks will require further information.

“If your finances have not been directly impacted by Covid-19, then you will need the same documentation as you would have needed this time last year.

According to director of Affinity Advisors Peter Gilbourne, Central Bank rules state that mortgage applicants can only borrow up to three-and-a-half times their salary in combination with having their 10% deposit. There are some exemptions to these rules but they can be difficult to avail of due to a variety of factors – not least that banks are not allowed grant exemptions above a certain volume.

“The crux of the matter for mortgage holders is [that] their bank would prefer if they didn’t switch,” says Trevor Grant, chair of the Association of Irish Mortgage Advisors. “It is up to the Central Bank and other consumer advocates like mortgage brokers to get the message out there,” as new CBI research finds 3 in 5 eligible mortgages could save more than €1,000 in the first year after switching to a cheaper lender.

The BT Blog #9

On Coping with a Future Tax Tsunami

Guest Blog by Marc O’Dwyer, CEO, Big Red Cloud

The Budget announcement to extend the debt warehousing provisions to allow self-employed taxpayers to defer payment for a period of one year, with no interest applying, will have come as a huge relief to business owners. It could mean a cashflow saving to a typical self-employed person of anywhere between €15,000 to €20,000 this year – money that could mean the difference between survival and personal insolvency for a huge cohort of businesses out there.

While we would welcome the move in order to help stabilise cash flow now, this money will have to be paid at some stage in the next year or two to settle the outstanding tax liability. Any businesses that avails of this needs to be mindful that there will be a double payment due eventually, which they will have to service.

With the self-employed tax payment deadline approaching, these workers and businesses will be hugely relieved that they can delay their final 2019 tax payment and their 2020 preliminary tax for a year without interest or penalties. And even if they’re still struggling at that point, they can continue to defer it and pay just 3% interest thereafter, which is far lower than the interest that would ordinarily be charged.

This is seriously useful and should mean the difference between many small businesses, such as taxi drivers and many others working in the hospitality industry, staying afloat or going out of business.

However, we would be concerned that it took years to successfully move the self-employed to the current preliminary tax system where they pay their tax in the same year. The deferment could lead to a tsunami of tax debt that many may struggle to cope with while keeping their current taxes up to date.

Even if these businesses get back to normal turnover volumes sometime next year, it’s unlikely that new business will be sufficiently booming to enable them to pay a double tax liability. The real hope is that there will be little or no tax due for 2020 as it was so poor, which would only leave the balance of 2019 and preliminary for 2021 to pay.

While Revenue have shown great flexibility and will do their best, the Finance Minister’s assumption that all liabilities will ultimately be collected may be optimistic.

Big Red Cloud is a leading supplier of online accounts software to the SME market, servicing over 75,000 businesses.

Marc O’Dwyer, CEO of Big Red Cloud said in response to Budget 2021: “The CRSS and the reduction in the VAT rate will of course be music to the worried ears of some of our struggling businesses around the country. It has to be said that the CRSS is a really good initiative and will hopefully be effective in providing the intended support to SMEs.



Guest blog by Michael Kavanagh, CEO of the Association of Compliance Officers of Ireland (ACOI)

The Relevance of Business

Continuity Planning in

navigating economic


In recent months, much has been made of the value of having a good Business Continuity Plan (BCP), with the COVID-19 pandemic illustrating just how important business continuity planning is in helping firms respond effectively to crisis and remain operational.

Our belief in the importance of BCPs is supported by our members, the majority of whom have utilized business continuity planning to a great extent. We recently conducted a survey of our members, to explore the effectiveness of such strategies in helping businesses prepare for, and stave off, the worse of a crisis.

Business continuity planning has been effective across 91% of our members, with almost half of businesses saying that they will need to tweak their planning in response as they move forward. The COVID crisis has been a unique and unprecedented shock and while businesses are learning to adapt, the outlook is extremely uncertain.

We recommend all businesses conduct a thorough review of their response strategy and further engage in business continuity planning if they have not already done so. In effect, Business Continuity (BC) refers to maintaining business functions or quickly resuming them in the event of a major disruption, such as we have experienced in recent months with the pandemic, or perhaps a natural disaster, malicious attack, or cybercrime. An effective BCP outlines the procedures and instructions an organisation should follow in such an event, and covers areas such as human resources, IT, business processes, assets, and any other areas which determine the continuity of the business.

Top considerations for an effective BCP:

  • Identify key business areas and critical functions – people, places, systems.
  • Conduct a full business impact analysis with complete, end-to-end reviews of business critical processes. This would include planning for remote workforces, for cybersecurity events, ensuring that plans for regular back up of critical data and systems are in place, and ensuring that appropriate testing of support capabilities and resources is conducted.
  • The plan document should detail how firms will maintain IT and business operations and services in the event of a disruption. For critical systems and dependent services, firms should ensure that 24/7 support capabilities are in place.
  • Liaise with human resources to identify where staff are and where they would need to be to ensure safety and enable business continuity, as well as to devise alternative, possible remote working solutions in the event of a business disruption.
  • Implement financial management measures with financial teams to help to manage future costs for the long-term health of the business and jobs security.
  • Don’t wait until a crisis arrives to test your plan – generate scenarios and test your system recovery procedures with staff.
  • Create a communications plan, identify a compliance officer to assist with communication, and review your BCP annually to ensure it remains relevant and effective.

What we have found from our research is that the skills of a compliance professional are very much in line with those needed to produce and manage an effective Business Continuity Plan. Those organisations that already have compliance professionals in place may benefit from immediate access to required skillsets, such as risk-assessment, attention to detail and excellent communication skills.

CEO of the Association of Compliance Officers of Ireland (ACOI) Michael Kavanagh said, “The results are encouraging, particularly in light of the economic outlook for Ireland in 2021, and given what businesses have already been through over the last 4 or 5 months. That 64% of respondents believe firms in the financial services sector will recruit in 2021 shows signs of optimism and confidence.”