Five months ago, I wrote an article titled "Brexit: how to create certainty in the face of division." That was just after the EU granted the UK a 6 month extension to make preparations for leaving.
The faces may have changed since then, as has the rhetoric, but very little else has moved forward. The uncertainty continues, making it difficult for businesses to know what to do. British Chambers of Commerce have carried out a study of over 1,500 firms. Their report suggests that (as of July) 41% of UK businesses had not carried out a Brexit risk assessment.
As someone who diagnoses and treats risk for a living, this surprises me. It's not "scare-mongering" to make sure that your business is prepared; it's practical, sensible, and it's time to crack on with it.
If you are a UK company that imports or exports goods, you may need to register to use the Transitional Simplified Procedures, apply for Authorised Economic Operator Status, and apply for a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee.
For companies that solely operate within the UK, there is still work to do to prepare your business for 31st October. First and foremost, you will need to look at your supply chain. If you haven't done so already, your first step should be to pick up the phone and talk to your suppliers and customers. Satisfy yourself that they are prepared for Brexit, and that your relationship is in the best place to survive turbulence. You don't want any 'trick or treat' surprises after Brexit day.
It's also important to make sure your cash flow is running smoothly and that you have checked your contracts out. Feel free to read my article on the subject and let me know if you need any pointers.
And most importantly, take a deep breath. You'll feel a lot better once you are prepared!
"There has been a welcome jump in those that have carried out a Brexit assessment since last year (35% in 2018 and 57% in 2019), but with just weeks until a potential no deal exit, there is still a large proportion of firms that aren’t in a position to prepare for the impact." - British Chambers of Commerce