New research shows that about nine in every ten SMEs cannot process sales online. That is according to IEDR, the group that manages the dot ie domain registry. 

IEDR's chief executive David Curtin said the findings were revealing and concerning. "We did a survey of SMEs to examine their e-commerce capabilities. 91% cannot process sales orders online while 68% cannot process payments online," he said.  "Businesses have a long way to go in terms of developing their online potential. Consumers are spending in excess of €4 billion online every year."

Mr Curtin said IEDR was opening a fund for the fifth year to which SMEs can apply for funding to help them develop their e-commerce potential. "The successful SMEs can work with the service providers to deliver something tangible, whether it's a reservation system or an online booking engine, by end of 2015," he explained. "They'll be able to take orders online, process sales orders online and, most importantly, complete sales online," he added.

David Curtin said the process of making websites match-fit for online sales was not as time or capital-intensive as might be imagined, but he said it was a process that was a necessity for SMEs. "It is an urgent need. We're falling behind our UK counterparts. They're the competitors when it comes to online sales. The Local Enterprise Offices are good, but we would ask the government to look at greater resourcing of the LEOs to help SMEs," he concluded.

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MORNING BRIEFS - The Government is on course for tax receipts about €2 billion greater than originally accounted for, according to Goodbody. In its latest report, it says the budget deficit should fall to 1.9% this year, a vast improvement on the budget day forecast of 2.7%. It will then fall to below 1% next year. Goodbody economists Dermot O'Leary and Juliet Tennent say the government should spend the surplus through capital investment projects, tax cuts and tax breaks to support business and boost housebuilding.

*** Davy is forecasting that - after 12% growth in 2014 - Irish house prices will rise by just under 9.5% this year, by just over 5% next year and by 4.5% in 2017. Davy economist Conall MacCoille says he expects the Central Bank's mortgage lending rules will anchor house price inflation to earnings so that the house prices will remain at close to five times income.

*** Microsoft is to become official European partner to the Coder Dojo Foundation. Coder Dojo is a volunteer led, global movement of free coding clubs for young people. The global community of dojos now stands at 650 reaching over 30,000 young people who are learning to code.