How to do a business Brexit assessment

The UK leaves the EU in little over a week, and there are still no trade deals on place with the EU. And given that their are lorries parked up in their hundreds in Kent, with ports shut due to the UK’s coronavirus variant, it appears that so-called Project Fear is playing out just as many feared it would.

If you run a business, there is very little advice on what happens next, let alone what you should do to prepare.

Although the impact Brexit will have on your business depends upon a wide range of variables – not least whether or not you trade directly with other EU countries – it will hit businesses of all sizes, in all sectors.

To help you prepare, here’s a quick guide to running a Brexit assessment on your business.

Will Brexit affect your business?

It’s still almost impossible to say how Brexit will affect every specific business, it’s safe to say it will have an effect on international trade, supply chains, tax and VAT, employment and even data protection. So it will potentially have an impact on every single business in the UK.

If you export or import directly to or from the EU, your business will obviously be directly affected. But even if you run a local small business, there could be knock on effects. If you run a small motor repair shop, for instance, that uses parts imported from an EU country, you could find there are delays in the supply chain or that prices increase.

And regardless of whether or not a deal is reached with the EU, you could find that cash flow and supply chains are impacted. To help you work out the extent to which your business will be affected, here’s how to run a Brexit assessment.

How to run a Brexit assessment

When working out the impact Brexit could have on your business, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your business import or export goods to or from the EU?
  • Does your business use EU-based services, contractors or products?
  • Does your business store data on an EU-based server?
  • Does your business store the personal details of EU nationals?
  • Does your business any postal or courier services to send goods or documentation to the EU?
  • Does your business employ EU nationals?
  • Do you or any employees to travel to EU countries for work purposes?
  • Do you or any employees use a mobile phone when working in an EU country?
  • Does your business have any European trade union obligations?
  • Is your business governed by any EU standards, such as European EN standards?
  • Does your business rely on EU funding or grants?
  • Does your business hold money or financial interests in an EU country, or have money in an EU-based financial institution.
  • Is your business VAT registered or do you operate under the MOSS agreement? MOSS is an optional scheme that allows you to account for VAT – normally due in multiple EU countries – in just one EU country.
  • Does your business own any patents, trademarks or registered copyrights?
  • Does your business rely on you or any employees having specific professional qualifications? If so, will they still be valid?

For further information, specific to your business, visit out the government’s Brexit transition page .

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