Businesses must ‘act now to intensify Brexit preparations', seminar hears

Peter Legge (right), tax partner at Grant Thornton NI, with Dr Andrew McCormick, director general of international relations for Brexit

BUSINESSES in Northern Ireland should "act now to intensify preparations for Brexit, with just six months remaining until the UK exits the European Union”.

That was the message as business advisory firm Grant Thornton Northern Ireland hosted a round-table with business leaders in Belfast as it continues to assist firms with their contingency planning ahead of Brexit.

The event was attended by more than 20 business leaders from firms across various sectors in Northern Ireland as well as Dr Andrew McCormick, director general of international relations for Brexit and Graeme Wilkinson, director of EU Relations.

Peter Legge, tax partner at Grant Thornton NI, said: “As the UK moves ever closer to the final date at which we will leave the European Union, it becomes increasingly important that businesses are provided with every opportunity to prepare themselves for what lies ahead.

“There was a clear message from all those present at the round-table that, with just over six months remaining until Brexit, firms that haven't already commenced Brexit preparations, must begin now.”

The round-table discussion formed part of the firm's wider strategy to help firms plan for Brexit and the various future trading scenarios which may result from negotiations.

He added: “There is no getting away from the fact that Brexit remains shrouded in uncertainty, but it doesn't mean companies cannot take action now to develop their contingency plans and understand the triggers for these. There are also a range of ‘no regret' decisions that can be made now that will improve the business' prospects regardless of the outcome of negotiations.

“Change is inevitable, but with change, comes opportunity. To assist in the process of identifying those opportunities and minimise risks, we are pleased to have recently launched our Brexit workshop which examines the business impact of certain potential scenarios through our nine organisational lenses.

"These lenses include customers and markets, suppliers and supply chain, tax and customs, people and workforce, as well as legalities around data and other regulations.

“The Brexit workshop draws on political insights, professional service expertise and a wealth of client experience to help businesses model potential scenarios, undertake a ‘hotspot' analysis, identify ‘no-regrets' decisions and develop a contingency planning roadmap.

“It expands Grant Thornton's Brexit advisory support which already includes their Brexit indirect tax impact analysis data analytics platform, which looks through the tax and customs lens and uses the specific business import and export data to assess possible customs duty, VAT costs and costs of certain ‘non-tariff' barriers posed by various Brexit scenarios.”

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