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The impact of Brexit on small businesses: where to turn

Posted 8 months ago in Small business by Donna Torres
Posted by Donna Torres

Since our last Brexit blog, a lot has changed. There has been a new Prime Minister, Parliament has been suspended, and two deals have been refused.

The situation changes every minute. Boris Johnson has a “do or die” push for Britain to leave the EU next month. But, he may need to agree to an extension. The picture is far from clear.

This is having an impact on small business confidence. At Xero, we are monitoring the situation closely to see how we support our 463,000+ subscribers as they adapt to change.

Here are some of the developments that you need to know about. 

Government support

Recently, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom met senior representatives of Britain’s leading banks and lenders to launch a new Business Finance Council. The main aim being to encourage better support support for SMEs as they navigate Brexit.

Ms Leadsom reminded lenders of the existing guarantee schemes available to them through the government-owned British Business Bank. She urged them to make the most of this support, enabling SMEs to invest in capital, increase export capabilities and manage cash flow.

Both the PM and Business Secretary have also committed to tackling late payments, providing export opportunities and improving the skills and education of young people starting in business.

Funding for businesses

The government has also announced new grant funding worth £16m to help businesses make IT improvements and participate in training to help complete customs declarations and processes. The aim of the fund is to help prepare businesses as best as possible for any Brexit eventuality. 

It might be worth checking this out to see if you are eligible for funding.

Other useful resources 

There are a few other tools available to support small businesses through the transition:

  • Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) myth buster: An EORI number is a unique customs ID for businesses. There has been a lot of confusion around whether UK businesses importing or exporting goods from the UK need an EORI number from the UK and the EU after Brexit. This document clears all that up.
  • The Enterprise Nation Brexit Advice Service: Enterprise Nation is a UK-based network of small businesses and advisors. The Brexit Advice Service helps you work out the issues you should be prepared to deal with and will help you produce a checklist and plan.
  • The FSB Small Business Brexit Pack: The FSB is a trusted business organisation. It has created a Small Business Brexit pack that explains the Withdrawal Agreement, the range of ‘end state’ scenarios and the principles of proper contingency planning. It also has information on what to do in the event of a no deal

Who to speak to

If you’ve seen some of the resources available and are still a bit confused, have a chat with your accountant.  They will be spending a lot of time understanding the implications of Brexit on your business. Take some time to talk to them about it and work on a plan together. If you want to find the accountant for the job, find one here.

There are a lot of unknowns ahead. But it’s not impossible to plan for what might come. Use available resources, speak to experts and make sure you have the right technology in place to adapt to change. Only then will you be ready for the ride ahead. 

Check out our Brexit resource guide here for more hints and tricks.

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