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A Greek accountant's account of life
(C)HT Business, 26th June 2012

   ATHENS: How bad is the economic mess in Greece? Just ask   Dimitris Skiadas, a despairing Athens accountant who is struggling to   keep his clients’ finances in some kind of order in a fifth year of   recession.

   Added to the euro zone laggard’s many economic woes, Skiadas said the    trust needed to do business has gone up in smoke since the debt crisis    began in 2009 and spread across Europe.

  Foreign suppliers are asking to be paid in cash, a system of post-dated    cheques used to settle accounts between companies is imploding and    talk about a possible exit from the euro is putting a lot of business on    hold.

   “It’s a disaster!” said Skiadas, as he fielded calls in his office in Athens

   Most of his clients are small businesses worried about the prospects   for the economy, with many on the verge of bankruptcy.
   His work mow more involves legal trouble and calling up clients paid.
  “Even small projects are cut down or blocked because everybody is    expecting devaluation” after a possible future euro exit, said Skiadas.
   The crisis, he said has created a vicious circle in which the austerity    measures aimed at ultimately. aiding the economy are in fact blocking    activity.

  “Starting in 2009, salaries were cut in the public sector. Consumption    went down. Then retail businesses started firing people and lowering    wages.Consumption went in the retail sector were hurt too,” he said.

   Regardless of the recent landmark elections which brought a    conservative-led coalition to power many young Greeks have been    voting with their feet and emigrating or trying to get an education    abroad.
   Skiadas sees the effects of this devastating recession on the ground.The   biggest trouble he says, is the breakdown of trust, which makes Greeks   wary of doing business with each other and keeps away foreign    firms.
  “There is no trust any more. Even small projects are blocked,” he said.
   “Everybody is suing everybody to get their money back,” he said.
   Many cheques bounce, and “It’s a problem because we were buying the    future.”
   Shopping to keep the economy going, perhaps.

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