When setting Brexit leadership priorities over the coming weeks, leaders will need to be strategic and decisive. Brexit will challenge every business sector and impact investment between Ireland and the UK.
While we don’t yet know what specific measures Brexit will introduce, any changes to the four freedoms which underpin the EU — goods, capital, people and services — will affect businesses such as manufacturers, service providers, suppliers and retailers in different ways. Consequently, all businesses need to look at their business models and profit margins to see how they are costing and pricing their products and services.
FPM is currently talking to a range of clients about potential contingency plans. Working in partnership with these clients, we are moving from planning to implementation and building capacity that will ensure businesses have the necessary flexibility to adapt their business model as things begin to change.
Generally, we observe a need for more forecasting and better business plans, with greater cash flow analysis. Businesses also need to ensure that they have adequate funding and the right working capital cycles.
It is reasonable to expect that things will move quickly. Consequently, businesses will need astute Brexit proofing advice. While uncertainty creates nervousness, with risk comes great opportunity.
Practical steps to prepare for Brexit
Practical steps to prepare for Brexit in the short term include examining and implementing any necessary changes to:
- Financing structures and exposure to exchange rate volatility;
- Export sales and supply chain strategies;
- Operational effectiveness and costs;
- Interest rates including fixed deals;
- Communication plans, especially financial reporting disclosures and communication to shareholders and staff;
- Opportunities in relationships and contracts with customers, suppliers and third party service providers;
- Existing talent and potential future talent requirements.
Brexit Leadership Priorities
Indigenous businesses will be worst affected by Brexit so it’s not surprising that investigating new markets ranks highly among the Brexit leadership priorities of many FPM clients. We provide access to high quality audit, accounting, tax and business advisory expertise in more than 140 countries. Please contact us if you are planning expansion and we will be delighted to assist. We offer similar services for overseas businesses establishing operations in Northern Ireland and/or the Republic of Ireland.
Forward-looking businesses are also exploring diversification and innovation as part of their strategic planning for Brexit. Again, FPM has resources and expertise to assist clients in these areas.
Be Vigilant and Strategic
Sectors like agri-food, tourism, energy, retailing and financial services will be worst affected by Brexit. Leaders in these sectors will need to be particularly vigilant and strategic in their thinking. Across all sectors, we can have little certainty about the future until negotiations get under way. Consequently, business owners and managers will have to watch developments closely and be ready to adapt as circumstances change. Confidence and agility will be critical in the months ahead.