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
“Even small projects are cut down or blocked because
everybody is expecting devaluation” after a possible future euro exit, said
The crisis, he said has created a vicious circle in which
the austerity measures aimed at ultimately. aiding the economy are in fact
“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.