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%) 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  • Disliked EU rules, such as the basis of calculating holiday pay, could be repealed.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
 
James Cater
4th November 2016 Farming Opportunities

Farming: Summer Update Whitings’ Farming Group looks at BREXIT, Energy Barns, New farm income streams, Entrepreneurs relief, Averaging, Permitted developments, Probate and FRS102.

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Andrew Band
4th October 2016 Post BREXIT Exchange Rates

BREXIT: Initially a silver lining for farmers? Since the BREXIT vote the value of Sterling has weakened, such that the average exchange rate for the Basic Payment Scheme has been set at €1 : £0.85228. For those farm enterprises electing to receive this in Sterling, this is some 16% better than last year. Given the…

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Steve Smith
3rd October 2016 European Neighbours

BREXIT: So what next? Well, your view will obviously be influenced by whether you are optimistic or pessimistic about the effect the change will have upon us..

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Ian Piper
22nd July 2016 Post BREXIT Trade

SME Growth: Will BREXIT spoil the party? SME’s are generally focused on growing the sales side of their business, to improve bottom line profitability. Having bounced back from the double-dip recession, then flat-lining for a couple of years, it looked like proper growth had once again returned to our local businesses: (Source Data) And then came…

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Richard Meadows
18th July 2016 Post BREXIT

BREXIT: What now for UK manufacturing? Now that the dust is beginning to settle following the UK voting to leave the EU, it is clear that it will take some time to determine what the economic infrastructure will be once we do finally reach the point of exit. One immediate effect, however, is the initial…

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