Continued uncertainty around the outcome of the Article 50 negotiations means businesses are finding it hard to plan effectively for Brexit. With increasing talk of the UK leaving the EU with no deal in 2019, we share practical steps businesses can do now to prepare for Brexit, whatever it looks like.
Understand the potential impact
Identifying key risks early allows more time to find solutions.
Begin by mapping how your organisation interacts with the EU, and evaluate the impact that leaving the EU will have (use a no-deal 2019 outcome as worst-case scenario).
Focus on systems and processes, particularly in IT, supply-chain and finance – assessing how exposed you are and thinking about how you will continue to serve customers in each scenario.
Remember that leaving the EU will likely result in the UK losing access to other markets which rely on EU agreed Free Trade Agreements.
Leadership is vital to success.
Uncertainty can be unsettling for employees, investors, customers and suppliers.
You won’t know all of the outcomes. However, you can provide confidence to your stakeholders in a positive dialogue about the challenges and opportunities posed by Brexit and how you will react.
Insulate your balance sheet
A robust balance sheet can shield against any harmful trading performance impacts. And provides flexibility to seize unforeseen opportunities. With this in mind, you should assess whether you have sufficient liquidity in your balance sheet.
You can start by reviewing and optimising working capital performance, exploring alternative sources of finance and reviewing hedging positions.
Utilise the apprenticeship levy effectively
Explore alternative solutions to sourcing labour.
The Apprenticeship Levy provides a great opportunity for employers to develop the skill sets of their current workforce.
Utilise the apprenticeship levy to train your future workforce, resolve any skills gap and retain talent whilst simultaneously minimising tax costs.
Think about your skills need
Conduct a residency audit of your current and future workforce to assess potential challenges.
Assuming that competition for talent in the UK increases, ensure you continue to retain and attract the people you need by making your value proposition as attractive as it can be - positioning yourself as the employer of choice.
Focus on ‘Brexit-proof’ markets
We know many clients are keen to grow internationally, but are wary of potential changes to market access (tariffs etc.) as a result of Brexit.
Focus on markets without an existing preferential trade agreement with the EU (one that the UK might lose access to) to minimise the potential disruption caused by the UK’s departure from the EU.
These markets include the large economies of the US and China.
Read our guidance on Brexit and explore how we can help
Exploring potential changes to trade and supply chains
Retaining and recruiting the skills you need through Brexit
Exploring the key issues around finance and business infrastructure