It's been a long time coming but finally Brexit is going to happen at the end of this year. While the deals have not been done, and there is a chance they won’t be by the year’s end, there is no reason why you should not have your ducks in a row for the 2020 season finale.

As part of our Boost My Business initiative Fiona Alston spoke to Mike McGrath Managing Director of ARVO Procurement Consultants to ask him for points SMEs should be considering before the UK’s exit.

Identify the risks with UK imports and exports – Speak to your suppliers and see what their dependency on the UK is. Who is going to handle the paperwork if there are customs and tariffs imposed on supplies? Are there different standards surrounding the products you are importing/exporting? VAT will have to be paid upfront, will that create cash flow issues for you? Evaluate your risks.

Develop stronger relationships with your key suppliers – there is going to be a challenging cross over period for everyone so the stronger your relationships the easier issues will be resolved and understood. If your key suppliers are in the UK you are going to become an importer therefore you need to register for an Economic Operators' Registration and Identification (EORI) number (which you can do here)

Research, Research, Research – There’s lots of good information available from bodies and agencies like the Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland, Invest NI, Intertrade Ireland and Revenue have a Brexit portal. While in the past there were a lot of 'ifs and buts' around the Brexit information we were getting, because there was no clear end to what was happening, we are five weeks out now and the information is more pointed. Check with your industry bodies and attended the free webinars available. (see links below) 

Stockpile if you can – it is worth looking at increasing your ordering and storage capability in December, if you have the space and the funds to, do so. It’s better to be looking at the product than for it. You are better off having that stock available to see you through the first couple of months of 2021 and eliminating any risks during the teething period of the initial break up with the UK. If you require extra finances to cover stock it might be worth considering a Brexit loan.

If you are at risk jump ship – If you have identified a situation where your maybe at risk and you are not getting positive feedback from your UK suppliers or buyers, in terms of their readiness, look at alternative markets. Given that UK businesses were told that Brexit was going to be a good thing for their business, many companies are not prepared so make sure your company doesn’t get burnt in the crossfire. Look at new markets, speak to those in your industry who have already sourced goods from elsewhere, or sold out foreign, and ask them about their experiences. Enterprise Ireland have a lot of information on this.

Useful links

Find the Brexit index here

Local Enterprise Offices have a smorgasbord of supports which you can find here  or you can find your local LEO here

Intertrade Ireland have a handy tariff checker here

The HSA has information on the changes surrounding chemical legislation here

The NSAI have plenty of information on changes to standards when UK is not an EU countries here

Enterprise Ireland have a Brexit Readiness Check here

And the UK Government site has loads of information for their side of the border here

You can get ARVO’s Brexit eBook here

And if you haven’t time for all that reading material Enterprise Ireland have no less than nine Prepare for Brexit webinars you can enjoy at your leisure. You’ll find them here 

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