Roadmap to Brexit Preparedness

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10 Simple Steps to Ensure your business is Brexit Ready

 

One positive attribute about being an SME is that it is easier to remain flexible surrounding the uncertainty of Brexit.

ACTION:  

Continue to observe all EU laws until notified and, if unsure, seek out professional advice.

Consider creating or assigning a Brexit awareness lead, at the senior level, to prepare for all possible scenarios and how your business plans to maintain flexibility.

SUPPORT:   CWLEP Growth Hub

 

 

 

 

Depending on the final agreement on Brexit – deal or no deal – this can affect the current agreements on no tariff, no border – so this will affect speed of delivery, administration work and importing duties.

ACTION:

Review your supply chain and understand where an impact on prices and delivery times could affect your business plan and operations, then put contingency plans in place where required. Also ensure you are aware of your contractual agreements with your suppliers and seek legal advice where necessary.

Contracts may no longer be subject to EU common law once we leave so they may need to be reviewed, especially if they have been negotiated before the referendum.

SUPPORT:  Exporting Advice   CWConnect – check local suppliers    CWLEP Growth Hub

 

For an SME, the loss of one key client could have a knock-on effect regarding the survival of one’s business. 

Your business may have customers within the EU who will be concerned that you may be unable to supply them in an efficient manner or that your prices will be subject to major fluctuations.

This will cause uncertainty regarding the ability to meet prescribed contract terms, which is why it is important to begin discussions early.

ACTION:

Consult customers on their Brexit planning and be transparent on how your business is preparing.

This will help mitigate risk by maintaining confidence in your relationships

SUPPORT:  CWLEP Growth Hub

 

Numerous connections have been made regarding skills and immigration upon the UK’s departure of the EU.

For instance, there is a potential skills shortage risk for various business sectors.

ACTION:

Conduct a risk-assessment and talk to your non-UK EU employees about their plans.

This will enable your business to determine potential recruiting needs, which should lead to an assessment of your recruitment outlook.

SUPPORT: Workforce Impact           Workforce Planning           CWLEP Growth Hub

 

 

As the 29th of March approaches be prepared for slower payments, initially, from the EU to the UK and vice versa.

It is important to remember that in uncertain times it can be difficult to raise finance from investors, so pay attention to the timing of key investments and projects.

There have also been discussions regarding the potential to pay VAT upfront, which could drastically affect the amount of cash a business has on hand.

ACTION:

Ensure that cash flow forecasts are up to date and that each Brexit scenario has been considered within the new forecasts. 

SUPPORT:  KPMG on Brexit Impact to Cash Flow and Finances           CWLEP Growth Hub

 

 

In a post-Brexit world, customs declarations will be required and the amount of information a business exporting will need to have on hand is considerable.

If no free-trade agreement is agreed, then the UK government has planned to implement a digital customs system.

However, the scope of the data that will be required needs to be considered by businesses now to prevent undue delay at the border.

ACTION:

Run a diagnostic on your business’ current system and determine what data you are already capturing.

If necessary, develop or create additional ways of gathering any export documentation (i.e. the country of origin or the value of goods) that will be pertinent in expediting a customs clearance.

SUPPORT: Software Providers

 

When the UK leaves the EU, the customs process will inevitably change. There are government schemes that allow for your deliveries to be prioritised, therefore accelerating the treatment and processing of your goods through customs.

ACTION:

Consider using logistics and freight forwarders that have the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status or consider joining the scheme yourself. If you are trading outside of the EU, you may already be part of this scheme or using a trusted trader. Also, consider customs warehousing or Inward Processing Relief.

SUPPORT: Customs Warehousing    Authorised Economic Operator  Economic Operator and Registration Identification  Inward Processing Relief  CWLEP Growth Hub

 

 

The pound sterling has fluctuated since the referendum, which has severely impacted some businesses. Act now to understand what a further drop in the value of our currency might mean for your business. It might make your goods and services more attractive to businesses overseas, but it can also be commercially damaging.

ACTION:

Consider seeking advice on financial products that can reduce your exposure to this risk – such as spot contracts and forward contracts. This will enable you to plan your finances more accurately and protects you from wrong estimates. Speak to financial advisers and mitigate exposure to exchange rate volatility.

SUPPORT: Exporting Advice      CWLEP Growth Hub

 

 

A partner strategy can benefit you in various ways. This can involve customers and suppliers, but there may be other parties that you should consider in your planning – i.e. your bank, insurers and providers. It may lead to joint investments in developments or joint ventures and it can strengthen your position in a disrupted market.

ACTION:

Speak to your suppliers and customers to see whether you can plan alongside each other. Engage with your suppliers and advisers and come up with common goals, then you can plan towards them together.

SUPPORT:  CWLEP Growth Hub

 

 

Speak to other businesses, inside or outside of your industry to understand what others are doing to prepare. There are networking events across the region; be it sector specific or general. Attending events and speaking to others about preparations will cost you nothing except a bit of your time. This can lead to information sharing, best practice exchange, and it could even lead to collaborative business ventures or enable you to find partners for joint investments.

ACTION:

Ask your local Growth Hub or membership organisations like the Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses or trade associations about upcoming events. There is also a range of Brexit specific events. Make your attendance at networking events a regular part of your calendar.

SUPPORT: CWLEP Growth Hub Events Page   Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce FSB

 

Additional Links:

Government Campaign - EU Exit for Business                  Brexit Checklist - British Chambers of Commerce                   Online Business Assessment Tool

 

Information Relating to Trading Rules                 HMRC Partnership Pack                 Free Trade Agreements

 

Providing Services                 Passports                 Public Information Campaign