56% of business have not planned for Brexit – report

Despite it being only 150 days until Brexit over half (56%) of business leaders have not started to make plans for the impact of Brexit on their business.

Perhaps this is guided by the belief of the majority (68%) that a deal will not be completed by March – according to live event polling held at a Brexit event for businesses.

The main concerns for businesses around Brexit are:

  1. Loss of customers or business (68%)
  2. Increased costs (48%)
  3. International trade (32%)
  4. Currency risk (28%) / Compliance (28%)
  5. Managing cash flow (24%)

Additionally, 55% of attendees are being impacted negatively by currency fluctuations hitting the markets as the uncertainty about securing a Brexit deal continues.

Businesses need to work together

Chris Southworth, Secretary General of ICC United Kingdom, who opened the event, comments:

Understanding the ramifications that the departure from the single market can have on your businesses’ trade, legal, and financial standing is not only crucial to success, but can also determine whether or not you need to shift your commercial objectives. A common misconception that we’re seeing is an expectation that our European neighbours are also aware of the impending changes, which of course is not the case. We encourage businesses to work with their key suppliers to secure their relationships and ways over working in a post-Brexit world now, to ensure their business continues to run as smoothly as possible.”

Simon Willmett, CFO of Nucleus Commercial Finance and a panelist at the event, comments:

This data reflects the reality we’re seeing which is that many businesses aren’t preparing and are underestimating their exposure to Brexit. Even businesses who aren’t working directly with overseas suppliers or customers can be impacted by currency fluctuations, slim margins and increased trade costs further down their supply chain. With many SMEs working without dedicated financial professionals the potential impact on their commercial performance shouldn’t be ignored.”

Mark Abrams, Director at Trade Finance Global, also added:

“Trading businesses are preparing for Brexit by diversifying both their suppliers and customers, to manage potential supply chain disruptions. We are seeing an increasing number of companies attempting to analyse the likely impacts of tariff changes, including transit delays, and the impact on stock levels. They are also hedging risks flowing from expected currency volatility.”

Gareth Wadley, Partner at Gateley Plc adds:

“As we await details of the immigration rules, it’s clear that many businesses are not prepared for the impact Brexit may have on EU national employees. There are definitely steps that employers can be taking now, including keeping affected employees informed of any developments and making them aware of the steps they will need to take to maintain their immigration status. Furthermore, businesses with a heavy reliance on EU nationals must be prepared; audits of existing workforces should be taken, identifying critical roles that may be affected as well as key business areas”.

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About the Brexit Business Event

Brexit Business was held by Nucleus Commercial Finance, Gateley Plc and Trade Finance Global to share practical tips from specialists, to help UK business leaders prepare for the impact of Brexit. The aim was to help businesses you prepare for and understand some of the potential scenarios that could arise as a result of Brexit, in order to minimise the impact and manage key risks that could affect their businesses.

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