The execution of Article 50 has raised many uncertainties for SME businesses and the single market. Suspected increases to EU trade tariffs are giving Importers and Exporters a shake-up. As a result, international markets, such as the US and Asian ones, are looking ever more attractive. Therefore, in my view, Accountants need to better understand trade barriers and educate SMEs on the financial implications of non- EU, international trading.
Looking beyond EU trading, Accountants also need to educate SMEs on potential barriers in areas such as taxation and the implications in meeting regulatory frameworks. According to PwC, only 24% of SMEs have the right level of management information to fully understand the post Brexit impact to businesses. This lack of understanding of Non-EU taxation levels, combined with the possibility of higher tariffs, leaves a high proportion of businesses at risk – especially those reliant on services and materials from the EU.
Furthermore, since Article 50 was triggered, SME business leaders have been pushing for Accountants to advise on, and predict, the implications of developments in ongoing negotiations. Accountants in modern times are looked upon as key drivers of shaping growth opportunities beyond trade with the EU. With so many uncertainties still looming, it does seem that Accountants need to advise SME business leaders on potential changes. Such advice can at least offer safe guards against these uncertainties for SMEs as the business landscape realigns itself.
Accountants will play a key role in educating business leaders on options available from Strategic Capital Investment firms and access to funding. Equally, accountants will need to encourage less risk to promote financial stability but also advise on how to increase finance for SMEs. Areas of interest might be Government financing programmes, initiatives from banks and alternative lending schemes. Business leaders in the modern climate will find themselves leaning more on their Accountants to predict the market post Brexit and deliver clarity on growth plans in the wake of continuous change.