Businesses will have to prepare for what could be extreme currency volatility early next year as the issue of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement returns to the British parliament.

Foreign exchange expert John Finn, who is managing director of Treasury Solutions and The Treasury Hub, says markets are now seeing around a 40% chance of a hard Brexit, which would be a "disaster" for Sterling.

He says such an outcome could push the pound to - or even beyond - parity with the euro, which could double the pain for exporters already facing the imposition of tariffs and trade delays.

However markets also see a second referendum as being as likely an outcome at present, which raises the prospect of Brexit being reversed altogether.

This, Mr Finn says, could see the pound strengthen against the euro and head back towards the 80p mark - a price not seen since before the initial Brexit vote.

But there are steps firms can take in order to navigate these potentially choppy waters.

"You can secure your rates through forward contracts," he said. "You can use other means but you just need to be a little bit more updated.

"Companies need to educate themselves a little bit more in this space - they should take advantage of all of the Government initiatives going on."

That includes programmes from Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia which focus on Brexit preparedness - with Mr Finn predicting more State action in the coming weeks and months.

"A hard Brexit has far wider ramifications than just currency - that's just the start of it," he says.

Many firms may have been putting off Brexit planning - particularly around a hard Brexit - for fear of over-committing resources to something that may never materialise.

But with the prospects of such an outcome rising, there are prudent steps open to people which may not appear wasteful even in a more managed withdrawal.

That includes taking a hard look at the workings of the company to see where efficiencies and improvements can be made, as well as the exploration of new markets that could replace some of the sales made to our nearest neighbour.

Companies with loans maturing in the near future should also be looking to lock-in refinancing sooner rather than later, he says, before there is any negative shift in the lending market.

"I would refinance my loans if I had any maturing in the next 12-18 months," he said. "If you don't act soon, you'll run out of time anyway because the 29th of March is three months away - that's not a lot of time, and generally for any kind of refinances it would take you three months."