Less than half of Brexit-exposed businesses that operate with turnover of less than €10 million have hedging strategies in place to protect against currency fluctuations.

This is according to Bank of Ireland and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

They've jointly launched a new programme aimed at helping businesses to develop hedging strategies to protect against currency volatility.

Hedging is a tool used by companies to limit their foreign exchange exposure by transferring the risk from the company to a business that carries the risk, such as a bank or currency trading firm.

The value of sterling has plunged by about a fifth against the euro since the Brexit vote in mid-2016.

There has been significant volatility in the pound in recent months since Theresa May announced that she was stepping down as British Prime Minister and the chances of a no-deal Brexit were widely regarded to have increased.

The currency is expected to remain volatile as the political and economic uncertainties continue.

"It is vital that in a time of such uncertainty businesses take the necessary steps to address their exposure to profit risks. Many of these businesses operate on a 2 or 3% margin on goods shipped to the UK but by the time they are paid, sterling could have moved as much as 7% and what was a profitable sale is now loss making," Aidan Clifford, Technical Director at ACCA Ireland.

"Our online resource aims at removing this risk by providing the skill set and expertise to protect profit margins for Irish businesses operating across global currencies."