SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition

Dear Member, 


Welcome to this edition of the SFA e-zine.


In this week’s update, we have the SFA Budget 2020 submission where we state that the Government needs to nurture entrepreneurship and give small businesses the opportunity to enhance their productivity and increase resilience.


Our HR article looks at new guidance on data breaches. The Data Protection Commission recently issued guidance to help data controllers better understand their obligations when it comes to reporting personal data breaches.


Following a successful Spring/Summer programme, SFA Skillnet are now looking for suggestions for their Autumn/Winter Schedule.


In advance of 31 October, the SFA wants to ensure that members are prepared for Brexit. In this issue we advise members on the essential actions you can take now to ensure that you will still be able to trade with the UK after it leaves the EU.


Our Employment Law conference is going on the road again! We will be in Limerick on 3 October and Dublin on 17 October. Delegates will hear from a Workplace Relations Commission representative, receive legislative updates and be provided with real life examples to learn from. Keep an eye out for our weekly emails giving you an insight into the content that will be covered during the day.


Bookings are now open for the SFA Annual Lunch on 15 November, book your place today.

The SFA has 20 free tickets to give away to members for ‘Are You PSD2ready?’, a half-day event on the second EU Payment Services Directive on, 4 September. 2019’s hot cybersecurity trends will be addressed at ‘Secure Computing Forum 2019’ on 12 September in the RDS, Dublin 4. SFA members can avail of a discounted rate for this unique event.


We also provide a summary of our recent press coverage.


As always, we’d love to hear from you about any queries you may have, issues you wish to have raised with Government or other stakeholders and your ideas on how we can improve the business environment for us all. Please contact me on tel: 01 605 1602 or e-mail: sven@sfa.ie or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit: www.sfa.ie.


Kind regards, 

Sven Spollen-Behrens

SFA Director

New guidance on data breaches

In August, the Data Protection Commission (DPC) issued new guidance on data breaches to help businesses better understand their obligations on reporting personal data breaches…

Under GDPR in relation to personal data breaches, data controllers are required to do the following:

  1. Notify the Data Protection Commission (DPC) that a personal data breach took place unless they can show it is unlikely to result in a risk to the data subjects
  2. Communicate the personal data breach to the data subjects affected if the breach is likely to result in a high risk to the data subjects


It can be challenging for data controllers to understand what is reportable to the DPC in terms of personal data breaches and what is a high risk to data subjects. In order to help data controllers better understand their obligations when it comes to reporting personal data breaches, the Data Protection Commission have issued a new guide in this area.


The guidance covers the following topics:

  1. What is the definition of a personal data breach? It also explains the difference between a data breach and a personal data breach.
  2. When a controller should notify the DPC of a data breach under the GDPR? This section focuses on what should be reported within 72 hours of being aware of the data breach and the need to document all breaches if they do not need to be reported.
  3. What should a notification to the DPC contain? The link to report a personal data breach can be found here.
  4. When to communicate a personal data breach to data subjects?
  5. What should a communication to a data subject contain?

Each personal data breach needs to be assessed on a case by case basis. What could be a low risk personal data breach in one scenario, for example sending an email to the wrong recipient, could be a high risk in another scenario. In the guidance they emphasis this and recommend that data controllers should also familiarise themselves with the guidelines on personal data breach notification from the Article 29 Working Party.


These guidelines expand on the above topics and in particular from page 22 to 26 it provides guidance on factors to consider when assessing the level of risk or harm the personal data breach may cause to the data subject.


You can download the DPC Guidance Note: A Quick Guide to GDPR Breach Notifications here.


The Article 29 Working Party Guideline on Personal data breach notifications can be downloaded here.


If you have a question on personal data breaches please visit www.sfa.ie/advice or contact Helen at SFA on 01 605 1668 or at helen.quinn@sfa.ie.

Budget 2020 submission

The SFA's Budget 2020 submission focuses on six key priorities for small business in the areas of business costs, capital gains tax, income tax and training. It also outlines the need for a national Small Business Strategy to set out a common vision for small businesses in Ireland.

The Small Firm’s Association Budget 2020 submission calls on Government to nurture entrepreneurship and give small businesses the opportunity to enhance their productivity and increase resilience.


The SFA’s submission forces on six key priorities for small business in the areas of business costs, capital gains tax, income tax and training.


Small business priorities for Budget 2020:

  • Protect competitiveness by ensuring that Budget 2020 provides certainty for small business
  • Reduce the headline rate of CGT to 20% for all
  • Increase the lifetime limit for CGT Entrepreneur Relief to €15 million
  • Remove the €3 million cap on the value of business assets allowable for Retirement Relief for those aged 66 plus
  • Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to €1,650 to equal the PAYE tax credit
  • Use funding from increases in the National Training Fund levy for the Skillnet Programme.

Speaking at the launch Sven Spollen-Behrens, SFA Director, said: "Budget 2020 must place a clear focus on Ireland’s small business owners by providing certainty on costs and maintaining competitiveness. By doing so the Government would reduce the risk on our economy from an over reliance on foreign direct investment and Brexit, while seizing an important opportunity to future proof our economic model."


With Brexit posing one of the biggest challenges faced by small businesses in years. The SFA Budget 2020 submission outlines the need for a national Small Business Strategy to set out a common vision for small businesses in Ireland. As supporting small businesses would mitigate some of Ireland’s current vulnerabilities and create a true entrepreneurial culture with benefits for entrepreneurs, employees and communities.


The SFA would like to take this opportunity to thank those members who helped shape the Budget 2020 submission.


We encourage you all to access a pdf copy of the Budget 2020 submission.

Brexit preparedness

The SFA wants to ensure that members are prepared for Brexit and a situation where the UK becomes a third country on 31 October 2019.

There are a number of preparations your business can make in advance of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. The SFA Brexit Toolkit for small business and the Brexit SME Scorecard are great starting points to help businesses to begin preparing a strategy and ready teams in terms of planning and shining a spotlight on some of the key operational areas that may be exposed.

DBEI's Brexit Preparedness Checklist identifies the essential actions that firms can take in advance of 31 October to ensure that they will still be able to trade with the UK after it leaves the EU.

The SFA advises members to inform themselves of all customs and excise requirements that may arise for imports/exports between Ireland and the UK (incl. NI). Members are reminded that if there is a ‘no-deal’ Brexit then Ireland and the UK (incl. NI) will, from Day 1, be treated by each other as third countries when it comes to trade. This will lead to a significant increase in custom arrangements and declarations.

Members should consult Revenue guidance on importing or exporting goods from a third country. If you import or export goods from outside the EU, you or your agent must complete a customs declaration. This customs declaration must be made electronically using Revenue’s Automated Entry Processing system.


Members need to decide about who will be responsible for the customs declaration either the company itself or an external customs agent. If you are planning on using an external customs agent, you should begin engaging with them now to ensure that they can take on new clients.

If you are trading in goods to or from the UK, an Economic Operators Registration Identification (EORI) is required to be entered on a customs declaration. To register for an EORI number go to the Revenue Online Service.

If you import or export goods into or out of the EU, you must classify those goods for customs purposes. Every product has a specific code. This classification code determines the amount of Customs Duty you will pay on imported goods. You can use TARIC to classify your goods to the appropriate code that you will need to import or export your goods.

At this stage, members should also determine whether they have to comply with UK customs requirements. Members can also consult HMRC guidance on the UK leaving the EU with ‘no deal’.


Supported by Getting Ireland Brexit Ready, Clear Customs Training offers immediate and free customs training to Customs intermediaries, and to businesses who frequently trade with or through the UK, or to jurisdictions outside the EU Customs Union. Delivered through Skillnet Ireland at locations nationwide these 5-7 days of instructor-led training will ensure your business is Brexit ready.

If you have a specific query in relation to Brexit and customs matters, please email brexitqueries@revenue.ie with the relevant details.

In addition, login to the Brexit advice page on the SFA website for further information on Brexit financing, GDPR, VAT and other related topics.

Please contact Elizabeth Bowen, SFA Senior Executive at elizabeth.bowen@sfa.ie or 01 605 1626 with any queries you may have on Brexit.

Training update

With over 100 participants from 44 companies attending our first SFA Skillnet subsidised training programmes, we are now looking for suggestions for our Autumn/Winter Schedule.

We are off to a flying start with over 100 participants attending SFA Skillnet subsidised training programmes in May, June and July. The feedback from participants has been excellent and of course they are delighted with the outstanding content and value for money! The most popular programmes to date are in Sales, Leadership and Management Skills, Essential People Skills, Pitching to Win Business, Health and Wellness in the Workplace, HR and Digital Marketing. We would like to hear from you to find out what programmes you would like to suggest for the Autumn/Winter Schedule. What programmes can we offer to help you improve your business and upskill your staff?

Some of our feedback so far from member companies who attend our training:
“Very impressive level of knowledge and practical tips shared by our trainer, Aisling Hurley. Many “take-aways” which can be implemented directly, all having a positive impact on our digital marketing.”
Billy Linehan, Owner, Celtar

“[My team] found the trainers very engaging; they liked that the course content wasn’t prescriptive and could be adapted to their needs.”
Dave Byrne, Managing Director of Dualtron

“The feedback was hugely positive. The team members who attended the course came back and digested the information they learned and delivered a condensed version to the rest of the team. We’re now in the process of incorporating the learnings into how we operate daily.”
Jimmy Sheehan, Commercial Director of Contracting Plus

If you would like to suggest courses to us or get our help in figuring out your training requirements, contact Geraldine Lavin, the SFA Skillnet Network Manager, on geraldine.lavin@sfa.ie or 087 7871642.

The SFA Skillnet is co-funded by Skillnet Ireland and member companies. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.






Recent press coverage

Budget 2020 submission, contracts of employment, Brexit and Local Government charges.

Budget 2020 submission

The SFA issued a press release on their Budget 2020 submission on 6 August, calling on Government to nurture entrepreneurship and give small businesses the opportunity to enhance their productivity and increase resilience in Budget 2020. SFA Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens, was interviewed on Kfm, Kildare Today, on 7 August.

  • Echo - 7 August
  • Irish Independent - 7 August
  • Echo – 8 August
  • Sunday Business Post – 11 August
  • Athlone Topic - 15 August

Contracts of employment

The SFA was referred to in the Veterinary Ireland Journal 1 August regarding contracts of employment in veterinary practices.



The SFA was referred to in an article in the Sunday Times on 18 August regarding Brexit.


Local Government charges

The SFA was referred to in an article in the Irish Times on 19 August regarding Dublin City Council’s decision to licence sandwich boards.

SFA Employment Law Conference
  • Limerick - 3 October
  • Dublin - 17 October

Navigating the maze of employment law


The rise and complexity in the Irish employment law landscape is increasing year on year. This is particularly challenging for small business owners who are time poor and wear multiple hats within their company. So how can small businesses navigate the maze of employment law and be confident that they are complying with their obligations to their staff? The SFA employment law seminar is the solution.


In 2018 and 2019 there has been a raft of employment law from changes to contracts, the introduction of banded hours and increases in parental leave. The SFA employment law seminar will take you through the recent changes within contracts, how to determine the status of a genuine self-employed person and the proposed changes in parental leave.


We will also cover bullying and harassment, work related stress case, as well as the dos and don’ts of disciplinaries and dismissals.


The one day seminar is taking place in Limerick on 3 October and in Dublin on 17 October. Tickets costs €210 +VAT for SFA members and €295 +VAT for non-members. 





  • Practical examples in action
  • Self-employment

Bullying and Harassment 

  • Table top exercise in a bullying case
  • One or two case law

Work related stress


OHS/Long working hours panel

  • Key learnings
  • Top things recognised

Family Leave

  • Parental Leave- Increased parental leave
  • Benefit Act

Discipline and Dismissal (Do/Donts)

  • Case studies- Practical
  • Role play

Book your place at the Limerick event or the Dublin event today. 

Bookings now open: SFA Annual Lunch 2019
  • 15 November

We are pleased to announce the SFA Annual Lunch, kindly sponsored by Bank of Ireland will take place on Friday, 15 November in The Round Room, The Mansion House, Dublin. Bookings are now open, book your place now


This event will gather SFA members, policy makers and stakeholders and it is an excellent opportunity for you, your colleagues, clients and guests to network in a relaxed environment. The guest speaker will be announced shortly. We hope that you can join for this great social event and kick off the festive season.  


Secure Computing Forum
  • 12 September 

Data Solutions and INM Events are delighted to offer SFA members a delegate discount to ‘Secure Computing Forum 2019’ a full-day conference on 12th September in the RDS Venue Hall 6, Anglesea Rd, Dublin 4. Now in its seventh year, this full-day conference will address 2019’s hot cybersecurity trends.


Leading speakers and industry experts will focus on topics including the ‘dark net’, crypto-currencies, surveillance technology, machine learning, cyber privacy and will provide tips for creating a cyber-savvy workplace. What are the most dangerous new attack techniques? How do they work? How can you stop them? What’s coming next and how you can prepare!


This conference is specifically tailored to meet the interests of senior business and IT professionals from Irish & UK organisations of all sizes. Network with your peers from across the business spectrum as well as semi-state bodies and government organisations.


To find out more about this unique event, and to avail of this great offer log onto www.securecomputingforum.ie and insert promo code SCFIBEC at checkout.

Are you PSD2 ready?
  • 4 September

‘PSD2ready’ is a half-day event for SMEs, on the implications of the second EU Payment Services Directive (PSD2) for businesses. ‘PSD2ready’ will take place on Wednesday, 4th September, in Dublin City Hall, Dame St, Dublin 2. This half-day event is for those small businesses using online payments systems.


The event will be split into a two-panel discussion lasting one hour each. The first panel of leading payment and policy experts will focus their discussion on the explanation and implications of the PSD2 directive on businesses.


The second panel will be development experts discussing the technical changes required to ensure online traders are ready and compliant.


Opportunities for questions and answers will be facilitated at the end of each panel discussion. The event will finish with a networking reception.


The SFA has 20 free tickets to give away to members for this event. The first twenty members to contact sven@sfa.ie will be allocated these tickets.


Tickets for this event cost €299.00. To find out more about this unique event, and to register, please visit Are You PSD2ready? Early booking is strongly advised.