Bulgarian businesses are gearing up for the transition to the Eurozone, a process expected to take between six months and one year according to an informal survey conducted by the Association of Non-Food Traders (ANFT). The survey, encompassing sectors like furniture, building materials, sports goods, and books, underscores the pressing need for clear regulatory guidance from the government to facilitate smooth adaptation.

Half of the surveyed companies anticipate Bulgaria’s entry into the Eurozone not earlier than 2026, with a quarter pinpointing July 1, 2025, as a realistic timeline. Only 12.5% believe entry could happen as soon as January 1, 2025, contingent largely on factors like inflation levels and political stability.

Despite preparations underway by half of the respondents, many companies feel inadequately informed about what adjustments are necessary. There’s a notable dearth of accessible practical information regarding the preparations for Eurozone integration.

Currently, IT departments (30.8%) and logistics/sales teams (30.8%) lead in preparations, followed by finance/accounting (23.1%). Essential changes are expected across at least five departments: IT systems reset, financial recalibrations, new sales protocols, HR adjustments, and legal contract revisions.

Respondents overwhelmingly call for more proactive support from the state, with 66.7% urging practical guidance and 33.3% advocating for expert assistance. Absent sufficient state resources, 62.5% plan to seek help from local business or NGO professionals, while 12.5% consider hiring Eurozone experts, and 25% intend to rely on internal training efforts.

A critical concern for half of the businesses post-Eurozone accession is managing the dual price labeling in both BGN and EUR, mandated for up to 12 months. Clarity is also sought regarding the provision of “starter kits” containing Euro notes and coins, essential for customer transactions.

The preliminary cost assessment for Bulgarian businesses to convert to the Euro and back annually totals approximately BGN 300 million. Trajan Haladzov from ANFT estimates individual company expenditures at around 450,000 euros, covering IT system adaptations, dual currency labeling, and staff training costs.

ANFT’s Executive Director, Galin Popov, stresses the urgency of finalizing the legal framework, citing the adoption of only one out of five necessary laws and regulations so far. He emphasizes the need for transparent government actions to prevent a last-minute scramble that could potentially double implementation costs for businesses.

As Bulgaria navigates towards Eurozone integration, the timely enactment of regulatory measures remains pivotal to ensuring a seamless transition and minimizing economic disruptions for businesses across various sectors.