Plan for the worst, hope for the best… but be prepared

Oct 03, 2020

As the transition deadline approaches, businesses must put Covid-19 to one side and devote time to their post-Brexit strategy now. Mike Hughes, of professional services specialist Grant Thornton, says that organisations must be ready for change when January comes.

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Mike Hughes, director at Grant Thornton in Milton Keynes.

FOR THE last six months, as a country we have been busy dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic but as January’s transition deadline gets closer, interest in Brexit has picked up again and we still cannot be sure of the impact it will have on businesses.

It is vital that business leaders engage with their post-Brexit strategy now to ensure their organisation remains efficient and resilient.  

A centralised approach

It is important to plan for the worst but hope for the best. Many businesses are already planning for Brexit but in some cases that can be disjointed. 

When planning is led by one department it is easy for the impact on only one team to be considered rather than the organisation as a whole. Having a centralised approach will ensure nothing is missed or duplicated. 

Engage staff and customers

As we head into a period of unknown it is critical that businesses have strong leadership and senior buy-in. This gives credibility to the strategy, provides oversights, ensures big decisions are made quickly and engages the workforce. 

It is also important to consider the end-to-end offering and how customers and suppliers view a business.

Wait and see approach

Throughout the Brexit process deadlines have been repeatedly pushed back, costing some businesses financially. Therefore it is easy to see why some are opting for a ‘wait and see’ approach before implementing changes in their organisation. 

For businesses that can navigate any short-term disruption, waiting makes sense but for those that cannot it may be too late. It is vitally important to be as prepared as possible and steps such as gaining European Operators Registration and Identification numbers or VAT registrations are relatively inexpensive.

No Trade Deal

A ‘No Trade Deal’ scenario  will be the most damaging for many organisations. 

Understandably, some businesses are keen to wait for further clarity before preparing for a No Trade Deal outcome. This means some have taken all the necessary steps to continue business as usual – they are happy to absorb some extra costs but comfortable to wait before making drastic change. 

Others are waiting on more information before acting at all. Either way, it is vitally important organisations are ready for change come January 2021. 

Most importantly be sure to plan realistically and ensure that best case scenarios do not cloud planning.

It is not too late to start planning and our Brexit Hub is packed full with helpful tips and advice for making your business efficient and resilient pre and post Brexit.  

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