The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is calling on the Government to introduce a remote working fund for SMEs in Budget 2022, to support small businesses in adopting a remote working model for employees.

As employers adopt a hybrid working model post-pandemic, the ACCA said additional costs associated with purchasing equipment, technology, and cyber security protection to support their staff to work remotely will put "considerable strain" on SME's financial resources.

It said both the Government’s new remote working legislation along with the uplift in tax credits for remote workers, which is expected to be part of the budget, will help transform the new hybrid working environment.

However, the ACCA whose members advise thousands of SMEs across the country, have said it is crucial that additional funding is provided to small businesses.

Caitriona Allis, Head of ACCA Ireland has said a fund that supports SME digitalisation would not only enhance the Government’s proposed remote working approach, but also serve to help small businesses grow with links between productivity and digitalisation.

"We are excited by the Government’s new proposals for remote working and the opportunities it will bring for regional Ireland, however, for a widespread adoption of remote working to be achieved, our feedback from SMEs is that a fund that would financially support this move is needed.

"Whilst businesses quickly pivoted during the pandemic and embraced digital technologies, there are many who have not been able to adopt a robust remote working policy due to a lack of resources, and a fund would help bridge the digital divide in the economy," she said.