Preparing for Brexit

Brexit is a bit like the proverbial British summer; we know it’s coming but we have no idea quite what it will look like. For SME’s, what is clear from all this uncertainty is that there will be opportunities and threats:

Exchange Rate Fluctuations: Sterling has devalued 15% since the EU referendum, so Brexit is likely to influence this further:

  • Understand and minimise your FX exposure on your non-sterling touchpoints (eg: selling prices, supply chain costs, orders and cash held in foreign currencies),
  • Material changes in exchange rate could fundamentally affect the countries you prefer to buy and sell from and to,
  • Businesses who import from the EU may wish to delay passing on selling price increases to customers/clients, to attract new business away from competitors who have passed on price increases immediately,
  • Lock into current GBP prices, where possible (eg buy 3 year Microsoft licences).

New Tariff Regime: Our current ‘single market’ trade agreement (ie, between the EU and the rest of the world) is likely to change:

  • Material changes in tariffs (WTO tariffs average 2.3%, excluding Food/Agriculture) could fundamentally affect the countries you prefer to buy and sell from and to.
  • It may now be easier for you to sell to key European markets through setting up an overseas subsidiary.

Interest Rates: It is feared that further quantitative easing following Brexit, to stimulate activity, will almost certainly nudge inflation, and hence interest rates, upwards:

  • Businesses who will soon need to borrow should consider bringing forward funding applications so as to lock into the current rock bottom UK fixed interest rates.

Regulation: All EU laws will initially be converted into UK law, but your business should prepare for future changes:

  • Projects and activities that take advantage of current generous (ie, state aid) tax rules should be brought forward (eg R&D Relief, EIS equity funding).
  • Disliked EU rules, such as the basis of calculating holiday pay, could be repealed.

Shock: UK consumers and businesses are very sensitive to uncertainty and confidence:

  • Build up a cash resources buffer to protect against a potential short term stagnant period around the time of Brexit,
  • Be prepared for trade activity to bounce back afterwards,
  • Could this be “a good day to bury bad news”, eg, general price increases?

Doomsday Scenario: Sensible precautions should be taken in case Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations turn out as unfavourably as David Cameron’s EU reform pre-referendum negotiations:

  • UK bank deposits are guaranteed up to a balance of £85k. Those holding more cash than this with any single bank may wish to divest this risk by opening deposits with other banks.


 
Latest Blogs in Preparing for Brexit
 
Ernesta Petkeviciute
4th December 2020 Have you considered these areas ahead of Brexit?

Whether a trade deal has been reached or not, the UK will leave the EU’s Single Market on the 31st December 2020. In order to reduce the impact of changes SMEs are faced with, there are a few key areas that need to be considered:   Engage with your suppliers Make sure you define customs…

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Lisa Smith
2nd December 2020 Brexit – EU VAT Refund System – Don’t miss the deadline!

UK businesses can only use the EU VAT Refund System until  11 pm on 31 March 2021.  This means that claims for a refund of VAT incurred in other EU Member States for the year ended 31 December 2020 must be submitted by then.  Prior to Brexit the deadline was 30 September following the end…

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Chris Kelly
23rd November 2020 Brexit – make sure you’re ready

The Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020.   There will be significant changes to the way that Import and Export business is conducted and the documentation needed, even if a Free Trade Agreement is ultimately reached with the EU.   Time is running out to consider the impact of the changes on your…

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Ian Piper
18th November 2020 BREXIT: What changes for SME’s?

As 1-Jan-21 draws ever nearer, and no trade deal with the EU has yet been agreed, what definite business process changes should UK SME’s start to now understand and prepare for: Exporting Goods to the EU  Apply for an EORI number (which starts with GB). Check whether what you sell is a restricted good that…

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Paul Jefferson
26th June 2020 Delaying Import duty and VAT

HMRC have implemented measures to assist businesses that are registered importers who pay VAT and Duty at the time of import and are facing financial difficulties as a direct result of Coronavirus.   What to do if you’re a Duty deferment account holder   You can contact HMRC for approval to enter into an extended…

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Barbara Nicholas
1st November 2019 Brexit halts Budget

With all the uncertainty over Brexit, we waited a long time to learn the date of Sajid Javid’s first Budget.   Finally we learnt this was to take place on 6th November, amid great excitement at muted suggestions about the possible abolition of Inheritance Tax and radical changes to stamp duty.   The bubble has…

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Richard Alecock
12th September 2019 “Get ready for Brexit” workshops

  The Department for International Trade is hosting “Get ready for Brexit” workshops across the East region, each running from 11:30 – 13:30 followed by a networking lunch.   Please see the link below for dates and venues.   http://x.email.ukti.gov.uk/ats/msg.aspx?sg1=6a523609b267f7129747b384f8f21e3e

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Ian Piper
23rd August 2019 31-Oct Brexit: How can SME’s prepare for no-deal?

As we edge ever closer to what looks more and more likely to be a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, SME business owners should now be readying their businesses.   There is clearly no certainty over quite how affected we shall all be by Brexit. However, there are sensible risk management mitigation steps that business owners may wish…

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Thomas Carter
21st March 2019 Preparing for Brexit – Do you trade within the EU?

Your UK business may need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number if we leave the EU with no deal.   What is an EORI number?   An EORI number is a unique identifying number assigned to individual importers and exporters to track trade between the EU and non-EU countries. It’s used during Customs…

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Lisa Smith
7th March 2019 HMRC sets out rules for postponed VAT accounting if no deal Brexit

HMRC confirmed that in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, from 11pm GMT on 29 March 2019, businesses registered for VAT in the UK will be able to account for import VAT on their VAT return rather than pay when, or soon after, the goods arrive at the UK border.  …

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