Over the past four years, much has been written about the negative impact that Brexit will have on UK businesses. However, there is plenty to look forward to so it is important to consider the positive opportunities that have emerged with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement now signed.
There are of course significant new challenges that will cost businesses both time and money. Moore Kingston Smith can help you with your business transformation at this critical time, ensuring greater efficiencies all round. Read on to find out more.
1. Overseas markets
The opportunity for UK businesses to trade globally is seen as one of the main advantages of leaving the EU. Certainly a weaker pound helps UK companies that export goods overseas, as it makes their products cheaper.
But alongside the exchange rate, it is important to recognise that UK trade with the rest of the world is no longer tied to EU rules, as was the case pre-Brexit. The UK has negotiated and agreed over 40 trade deals, covering more than 70 non-EU countries. The government is in advanced discussions with Australia, New Zealand and the US. As a result in certain markets, exports may be subject to fewer tariffs and regulations than might previously have been the case.
2. Supply chain
The introduction of Rules of Origin on goods has brought with it the prospect of tariffs, leading to higher costs. UK businesses should now review their supply chains to evaluate whether a change of supplier might completely extinguish duty levies altogether.
3. Authorised Economic Operator status
Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status is an internationally recognised quality mark that shows your business’s role in the international supply chain is secure and has customs control procedures that meet AEO standards and criteria. If you hold AEO status, your business is likely to benefit from a faster application process for customs simplifications and authorisations as well as a lower risk score which may reduce the number of checks customs will carry out on your documents and goods.
Needless to say that leads to fewer delays, fewer additional costs and happier customers. So certainly applying for AEO status is an opportunity not to be overlooked. The process takes some months and will involve an HMRC inspection before AEO status is conferred.
4. Home markets
As a result of the weakened pound since the 2016 Brexit vote, imports have become more expensive for UK businesses and consumers. The increased cost of doing business with the EU offers the opportunity to focus on bringing the supply line back to the UK and to maximise the UK customer market.
It may be that a competitor pulls out of the UK, thereby presenting the opportunity for your business to increase its market share.
Brexit provides an opportunity for the UK to become more self-sufficient – to leverage home-grown products and services, thereby strengthening green credentials and creating a feeling of ‘local’ rather than ‘global’ connections.
Thanks largely to significant leaps in technology, robotics and artificial intelligence, digitalisation is on the increase. Brexit presents an opportunity, given the restricted EU labour rules now in play, to consider automation and streamlining of certain critical business functions – including HR, sales, marketing and finance.
6. Team recruitment
EU nationals make a significant contribution to the UK economy. However, with the introduction of a points-based immigration system and free movement across the EU having now ceased, the once heavy reliance on EU workers is over.
This presents an opportunity to evaluate your workforce and identify potential skill gaps, now and upcoming, and address shortages where necessary. Increased training, running an apprenticeship programme, improved working arrangements (agile working, fringe benefits, etc) are all possibilities. By investing in your existing workforce, you will not only be plugging the skills gap but also improving employee retention rates.