Business

Accountancy body warns Northern Ireland businesses told to prepare for no-deal Brexit

Niall Harkin, chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society has said businesses in the north should prepare for a no-deal Brexit
Gareth McKeown

BUSINESSES in the north are being warned to prepare for a no-deal Brexit and the resultant tariffs and charges that come with it.

Chartered Accountants Ireland has told its members not to be complacent about a Brexit political settlement ahead of the March 29 deadline.

In a joint statement, the chair of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society and the Chartered Accountants Ireland London Society said that there is no hard evidence that the Withdrawal Agreement will be backed by MPs in Westminster next week.

As a result both accountancy bodies are advising businesses to be prepared for a no-deal Brexit and for the reintroduction of tariffs and quotas on imports and exports between the UK and the EU from the end of March.

They also outlined concerns in relation to the ability of SMEs to deal with these new challenges.

Niall Harkin, chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society said businesses in the north face huge disruption if no Brexit settlement can be agreed.

“Generally, aside from the agribusiness sectors, it is not the amount of customs duties to be reintroduced that will pose problems for businesses in the UK and Northern Ireland in particular.

“Rather it is the disruption which will be caused by customs checking at the borders with the EU and the increased administration that this will bring," he said.

"Furthermore, many businesses will encounter a new up-front VAT charge on imported goods which will impact on cash flow.”

Ahead of the Brexit deadline Chartered Accountants Ireland is recommending that as a minimum first step cross-border businesses apply for a UK EORI number, required to continue to trade within the EU after March 29.

UK businesses can apply for an EORI number online at https://www.gov.uk/eori.

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