Firms still have heads in the sand over Brexit says agency

Brexit planning is now essential says InterTradeIreland's Aiden Gough
Brexit planning is now essential says InterTradeIreland's Aiden Gough

A year since the vote to leave the EU only a fgraction of firms have made any attempt to prepare for Brexit business agency InterTradeIreland claims.

The latest business Business Monitor from the cross-border organisation says local companies are not taking advantage of stable environment to plan for potential Brexit impacts

After 12 months, still only 2% of all companies and 3% of exporting companies have a plan despite further stats suggesting 34% of those have experienced a negative impact due to Brexit.

Over 75% of exporters report that uncertainty makes it difficult to plan.

Among business as a whole, 76 per cent of companies say Brexit has had a neutral effect on their business so far, while 56% report they are stable – the highest since Business Monitor began recording business stability and growth in 2011.

“The stability experienced in the last quarter is encouraging and it’s essential that firms take advantage of this to plan their next steps,” said Aidan Gough, strategy and policy director at InterTradeIreland.

Further signs of solidity are evident despite an intensely competitive economy with companies which trade cross-border experiencing growth in both employment numbers (17 per cent of firms) and sales (50 per cent of firms). This may provide a firm foundation as companies move into potentially challenging times.”

A steady environme could provide ‘thinking time’ for firms to begin to create plans to ensure they remain resilient beyond Brexit he added.

“InterTradeIreland has now launched a Brexit Advisory Service where potential and current cross-border businesses can receive one-to-one Brexit advice and we want to encourage as many firms as possible to take advantage of our insights and expertise.

“InterTradeIreland is in a unique influencing and information-gathering position, working with governments on both sides of the border, using our extensive knowledge to advocate on behalf of SMEs.”

The agency’s Brexit Advisory Service offers 100% financial support up to £2000 towards expert advice on specific issues such as movement of labour, goods, services and currency management.

“Our message is clear: while we recognise the pressures facing small businesses, particularly as owners can be, there is, nevertheless, a window of opportunity,” Mr Gough said.

“This must now be grasped to prepare for the challenges and indeed the opportunities that will be presented by any new cross-border trade arrangements which may emerge over the coming years.”