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5 sensible questions SMEs need to ask about Brexit

By Paperstone on October 1, 2019 in Uncategorized
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How do you react when you hear the B-word? Run around the room panicking like a headless chicken? Or bury your head in the sand hoping it will all go away? Whatever you think about Brexit, the truth is that it will have an impact in some way on your business.

The FSB (National Federation of Self Employed and Small Businesses) estimates that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 99.3% of all private sector businesses and contribute a combined annual turnover of £1.9 trillion to the UK economy. So whatever your market or business area, all UK businesses will serve a client base that will be affected.

Here are five questions we think every small business should ask to help them understand how Brexit, whatever form it takes, will affect them.

1. Do you import or export to the EU?

Perhaps the most obvious change will take place with imports and exports. There may be extra costs from customs import duties and there will also be administrative costs from additional red tape.

As we will no longer be part of the free trade area, all businesses that import and export from Europe will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, to complete relevant documentation. Even if you only import and export to countries outside the EU, your supplier may temporarily store goods in an EU warehouse, which means you will need an EORI number.

2. Do you employ EU citizens?

A recent survey by YouGov reported that nearly half of all UK businesses employ EU citizens. After Brexit, you will need to think about how you track the nationality and status of employees to make sure they can legally work in the UK.

3. Do you hold data on EU citizens?

You may not be able to use data you hold on EU citizens, whether they are customers or suppliers until new agreements for information sharing are in place. Also, if you have a .EU domain you will have to change your web address unless your principal place of business is in the EU.

4. Do any of your staff travel to EU countries?

If your employees travel within the EU, they may have to pay extra mobile phone charges – for data and calls. If your team drive abroad, they will need to apply for an international driving license.

5. Do you hold any certification or trademarks?

If you hold certification for a product, such as organic certification, it may not be recognised after we leave the EU. This means you will need to apply for individual approval under specific EU regulations. Any trademarks you wish to continue to protect outside the UK may need to be re-registered for an EU trademark (EUTM).

Whatever you think about Brexit, it’s clear that whatever form it takes, it will affect your business.

You can use the UK government’s tool to find out more.


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