Companies urged to act now as Brexit deadline looms

Lancashire companies have been urged not to be ‘in denial’ about Brexit and advised that trading with Europe is likely to become more difficult next year whether the UK agrees a deal or not.

Jonathan Main, partner at Preston-based chartered accountants and business advisors MHA Moore and Smalley, believes the majority of UK companies have not been able to adequately prepare for Brexit due to the challenges and restrictions bought about by Covid-19 this year.

With just over a month for the UK to agree a deal with the EU, he has urged firms to act now to develop a long-term strategy which takes into account the new trading arrangements and regulatory issues they will face.

Jonathan said: “Because of the challenges and restrictions businesses have faced this year, the majority of those exporting to Europe have not been able to give Brexit the attention it requires.”

“There is a misconception among some businesses that a deal means trading will continue as normal. Although a deal will help businesses by removing the cost of duty tariffs, the legal and regulatory as well as administrative costs will remain. For example, customs declarations cost money, irrespective of any actual duty being charged.”

He added that many businesses are currently unprepared and advised companies to act now to prepare for the changes Brexit will bring to international trade.

He said: “It is not too late for companies to get their house in order but for many this will have to entail looking beyond specific fixes, like hiring a customs agent or thinking about a subsidiary in Europe, important though these steps are.

“Being unprepared and getting caught out will be costly, if goods turn up at the border without the right paperwork they will just be stuck in the port.” 

Jonathan is presenting on Brexit at three Finance Directors’ Webinars from December 1-3, as well as the Northern Business Leaders’ Network on December 7.

He will explain the UK’s trading relationship from January 1, 2021, discussing steps that businesses can take to ensure the flow of goods between the UK and the EU is as smooth as possible. Jonathan will also discuss VAT and other indirect taxes once we are no longer bound by EU Directives. 

Business can find out more information and register here.