Brexit Readiness Checker helps firms examine their preparedness

Companies with any lingering doubts in relation to their state of preparedness for Brexit should avail of the free Enterprise Ireland Brexit Readiness Checker. The online form takes less than 15 minutes to complete and at the end of the process you get a personalised Brexit Readiness report which highlights any gaps in your preparations, identifies priority areas for attention, and gives details of where to find help and support.

The Brexit Readiness Checker comprises 25 very straightforward questions divided into the key areas of customs, finance, strategic sourcing, and serving your UK customer. It also covers other important aspects such as potential GDPR exposure and EU citizens’ rights.

The Customs section covers EORI registration, customs codes, country of origin, potential tariffs, the appointment of customs brokers or agents, movement of products of animal origin, customs and tariff payments, and administration issues.

The Finance & Currency Management section looks at the financial and operational impacts of Brexit. These include the impact of exchange rate changes on the bottom line, the cash flow implications of the new trading environment, the potential requirement for additional working capital, and VAT implications.

Strategic Sourcing addresses the percentage of supplies coming from or through the UK, reliance on UK suppliers, overall security of supply, and supply chain disruption mitigation measures.

Serving your UK Customer looks at strategic issues, such as giving your customers confidence that they will not face any disruption arising from your business, the potential to improve the reputation and value your business can bring to its UK customers, and the possibility of establishing an in-market presence in the UK.

The final section looks at issues such as the potential for GDPR breaches as a result of the export of data to the UK after 1 January 2021, the possible requirement of non-Irish EU nationals to travel to the UK in future, and whether such EU citizens employed in the UK have ‘settled status’ allowing them to continue to live and work there.

The simple act of completing the questionnaire will quickly highlight areas requiring attention, but the personalised report adds real value both in terms of its presentation and content.

The readiness state of your business in relation to each area and question is assessed and given a rating of red, amber or green. With red meaning that urgent action is recommended and green meaning the business is a step closer to being ready for the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021.

In each case where action is recommended the report identifies resources to assist and offers signposts to where they can be found. Taken as a whole, the report adds up to an implementation plan for companies to follow in the run-up to the UK’s (excl NI) final departure from the EU Customs Union and Single Market.

For example, where a company hasn’t identified who will manage the customs procedures and paperwork, the report provides a commentary to explain the importance of this and why urgent action is required:

“The movement of goods to, from and through the UK (Excl NI) will require the submission of customs declarations to customs authorities in advance of the goods departing from Ireland/the UK. There are also pre-boarding notification requirements for goods moving by ferry to or from the UK. This will pose difficulties for new importers and exporters as they seek to understand and implement customs processes for the first time. Companies have two options: (1) Seek out a customs intermediary or ask your logistics provider to do this work on your behalf. Businesses should budget for approximately €50 per declaration in this scenario; (2) Build the capability in-house. Training is key, along with the identification of a software system and the people required to make the declarations. Allow 3–4 months approximately for recruitment and training. When insourced, companies should budget between €7 and €8 per declaration, along with the associated salary and training costs. Each company should examine its own business case in detail before making any decisions.”

In addition, it points to sources of assistance:

Enterprise Ireland > Insights > Deciding to insource or outsource customs clearance

Enterprise Ireland > Customs Awareness Training

SkillNet Ireland > Building customs capability internally

Similarly, where a business hasn’t identified how much additional funding it will require to deal with the new trading environment, the report offers the following commentary and advice:

“When looking at the impact on cash flow when trading with an evolving UK, factors like extra customs charges, advance purchasing and funding to explore new markets come into consideration. The first step is to develop a robust forecasting model to understand how much additional funding, if any, is required to support a company’s action plan and when it might be needed. Along with internal measures to support cash flow, e.g. a deferred payment facility from Revenue or efficient credit controls, companies can also look at a range of external financing options. The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) has available a Brexit Loan Scheme and a Future Growth Loan Scheme to support working capital and longer-term strategic investment respectively. These funds are delivered through the main Irish banks and are worth considering if finance is required to fund business plans.”

By following each piece of advice and availing of the supports and resources identified in the report a business can, in a relatively short period of time, make significant progress towards being ready for Brexit on 1 January.

Click here for the Brexit Readiness Checker