Agile planning needed for no-deal Brexit
David Wood issues a reminder of the need to think through the implications of whatever form of Brexit is going to be agreed – or not agreed.
We have had our ‘Brexit boxes’ in the garage for nearly a year now. Full of packets and tins, and bottles – of olives, passata, beans and pulses, muesli, olive oil, tinned pineapple, all kinds of things. I’m not sure it is particularly well thought through, but there is a good quantity of things which we guess come from the EU or other overseas sources and which might become clogged up at British ports for a while after a chaotic Brexit.
I don’t know how we’ll manage for fresh fruit and vegetables – maybe we’ll need to revert to the ‘olden days’ when we were pretty much limited to what we grew locally in the UK? I’d never even heard of broccoli or kiwifruit as a child in the sixties and seventies, and salad was something you ate in the summer but rarely wanted anyway in the winter!
On a personal level, we should all do some basic planning for our potential worst case scenarios, whether the concern is scarcity of our favourite foods, a more serious shortage of necessary medicines or just additional hassle when travelling.
The consequences for business survival can be more serious. Many businesses will already have made some contingency plans, and taken action appropriate to their circumstances.
But the Autumn 2019 Brexit Tracker survey, showed that whilst three quarters of organisations are prepared for a negotiated Brexit (with a transition period), fewer than half claim to be prepared for a no-deal departure.
With things changing on an almost hourly basis, at the time of writing, the UK might seek another extension from EU leaders to, say, 31 January 2020. We may have a deal-based departure on 31 October 2019 with a transition period – or we may have a cliff edge departure without a deal or any transitional arrangements on 31 October. In the latter case, there needs to be a lot of planning taking place with some urgency!
The Tracker survey also reported that the three most useful sources of advice are business contacts and colleagues, trade/professional bodies, and external advisers. UK Government guidance was only the fifth most useful source of advice, but such guidance probably underpins much of the advice from other sources, so CAs do need to be aware of it.
The Government continues to publish statements and guidance on Brexit – to explain the implications of a no-deal Brexit and to help businesses and individuals to prepare.
Government guidance is available via the following links:
- The Government’s main Brexit page – based on various questions, this provides self-tailored guidance for individuals and businesses
- Specific self-tailored Government guidance for your business
It would be impossible to list out all the specific guidance but the following is a selection of those which might be of most interest to ICAS members:
- Guidance for UK Nationals living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or Ireland
- Webinars and Videos for UK businesses on trading with the EU after Brexit – including applying for an EORI number, preparing to make customs declarations, transitional simplified procedures, and using the Common Transit Convention
- Advice for EU businesses – high level advice with relevant links
- Guidance for companies providing online services across the EEA
- HMRC Letters to businesses trading with the EU and/or the rest of the world
- HMRC Guidance on importing and exporting post-Brexit
- Country Guides: Providing services and travelling for business to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein
- No-Deal Readiness Report – setting out in one 159 page document what will change if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October.
The following are specifically relevant to our profession:
- Accounting for UK companies after Brexit
- Accounting for EEA organisations after Brexit
- Get your EEA qualification recognised in the UK after Brexit
- Auditing for EEA auditors and audit firms operating in the UK after Brexit
- Auditing for UK auditors and audit firms operating in the EEA after Brexit
Brodies, the law firm which sponsors The CA’s Brexit Tracker Survey, has a large number of guidance pieces on its website, together with a checklist for businesses to assess their preparedness. This is available through its Brexit Hub.
Scottish enterprise agencies have developed the ‘prepareforbrexit.scot’ website to provide assistance to Scottish businesses, including a self-assessment checklist, details of low cost actions which can be taken now, and the availability of a grant up to £4,000 to help Scottish SMEs manage their Brexit impacts.