Toughing it out – Dave Gibson of Blu Sky explains why resilience planning is crucial as we prepare for the UK to leave the European Union.
Dave Gibson is Co-Founder of Blu Sky, a chartered accountancy firm with specialist experience in helping tech, digital and manufacturing businesses grow sustainably.
What is resilience planning and why is it so important for businesses to do it?
Regardless of leaving the EU, it is important to recognise the risks as well as the opportunities that exist for businesses in the North East. The best way to do that is scenario planning, thinking through the implications of what might or might not happen to your business and how you would handle those situations.
Having a plan will give you comfort that you can ride-out hard times and thrive when the going’s good.
Ideally, your resilience planning should be guided by your risk register. I’m not suggesting people spend eight hours a day managing their risk register but it will help you identify what could go wrong, what you can do to mitigate it and what’s in your control to stop it from happening.
From a EU exit point of view, the main things you need to consider are; Are you buying and selling from the EU? There are going to be trade barriers there potentially. There may be disruption to the movement of goods, what impact could that have on your business? And if you’re selling services, you need to think how that might work post-EU exit.
It is still unclear how and when the UK will leave the EU. How then can businesses prepare?
It is a challenge. You’ve got to anticipate that we are going to leave the EU on 31st January 2020 or potentially sooner.
The top three things I’d recommend business do in advance of that are; check the implications of the currency rate changing, consider the VAT implications of business to consumer services and think about where your workforce might come from in the future.
How can a SME that is time-poor plan for all the available outcomes?
I’d encourage businesses to step-back from the UK leaving the EU and think more widely about the risks to their organisations. Identifying those risks shouldn’t be a difficult or time-consuming thing to, once you understand those risks you can plan how to mitigate them and see what your contingency options are. This is just a sensible thing for any business to do regardless of leaving the EU.
Can North East businesses access external support to help them plan for EU exit?
There’s a lot of free support available in the North East Local Economic Partnership’s EU Exit Toolkit that will help businesses get ready for leaving the EU.
I’d also recommend getting together with your peers and see what everyone else is doing. Networking and collaboration is absolutely crucial at the moment.
Further information and support
A range of support is available on the North East Growth Hub website site including:
- A collection of resources and tools from Gov.uk to support community resilience, infrastructure resilience, business continuity and corporate resilience. More information here.
- Newcastle City Council’s Resilience Planning team can offer your organisation support and advice on how to make your business more resilient and help you be prepared against the impact of disruption. More information here.
- The Business Continuity Institute provide information for businesses new to continuity management and planning. Further information on the support they offer is available here.