Irish firms want the Government's wage subsidy scheme extended for a longer period than is currently planned to give them more time to stabilise their businesses in the face of Covid-19.

That's according to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, which is predicting a rocky road lies ahead for companies across the country.

"We are in the grips of a national and indeed an international emergency and thousands of businesses face tough decisions ahead," said Caitriona Allis, Head of ACCA Ireland.

'While many our members have welcomed the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme they are now expressing concern as to how they will reboot their business after the pandemic and are looking to government to extend the Wage Subsidy Scheme for a longer period to allow them adequate time to stabilise their business."

The comments come as a survey of senior accountants here found economic confidence has unsurprisingly nosedived in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

The research found that confidence in the economy is down 20% and sits almost at record low levels.

The study found a measure of global orders has fallen sharply and confidence around the world has hit its lowest level ever.

Indices gauging the level of confidence in Irish employment and investment have also plummeted, with those surveyed now of the view that Ireland, the UK and the rest of Europe will all suffer a sharp economic contraction in the next few months.

"Irish economic sentiment is in line with the rest of the world. Confidence fell everywhere and, in most cases, sharply and to the lowest since the survey began in 2009," said Michael Taylor, chief economist with the ACCA which jointly published the research with the Institute of Management Accountants.
 
"Irish government spending expectations have unsurprisingly risen sharply, to mitigate the significant upheaval businesses face as they aim to access much needed funds. The intention for government is to provide a bridge of income so that when economic conditions improve, a recovery can be fairly quickly established."

Mr Taylor said while economic damage will be huge in the coming months, appropriate policy action could create the right conditions for economic recovery once the health emergency is over.

The Global Economic Conditions Survey is based on a survey of accountants who collectively advise 5,000 firms.