BUSINESS NEWS

We wish you a happy new year - let’s hope 2021 is more stable from a business perspective and that by the end of the year we can return to some kind of “normality”.

BREXIT TRADE AGREEMENT

The transition period for the UK leaving the EU has ended. The EU and UK have struck a trade deal, and this has been ratified by the UK Parliament so from 1 January we are trading with the EU quota and tariff “free”. There are new Customs regulations and VAT requirements to get to grips with, but we have every confidence once we get used to the new systems, imports and exports will continue to flow.

The full agreement is entitled “trade and cooperation agreement between the European Union and the European atomic energy community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part” and can be seen at:  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948119/EU-UK_Trade_and_Cooperation_Agreement_24.12.2020.pdf

The key points of the agreement are outlined below:

  • Travel - UK nationals will need a visa for stays longer than 90 days in a 180-day period and there will be new procedures for UK travellers at EU borders.  European Health Insurance Cards, (EHIC) cards will remain valid until they expire. Mobile roaming charges may change so if you are using your phone abroad check with your plan provider first.
  • Trade - There will be no tariff charges on goods or quota limits on the amount that can be traded from 1 January. However there will be Customs checks at borders and customs declarations will need to be made by exporters from the EU and the UK.
  • Services - UK financial businesses lose their access to EU customers (many larger firms have already established subsidiaries within the EU to continue access) and whilst the UK has granted EU businesses temporary permission to continue servicing UK customers, there is no reciprocal EU agreement for UK businesses as yet. We expect regulatory discussions about “equivalence” in 2021 and hopefully, an arrangement whereby UK firms will get access to EU customers.     

There is a Government Brexit checker to assist with the planning for business, family, and personal circumstances. Use the Brexit checker to get a personalised list of actions. You can also sign up for emails to get updates for what you need to do.   

See: https://www.gov.uk/transition

There are other agreements on fishing, security, the Justice system and study which have been widely commented on in the last few days and it is now a question of moving forward with the agreement and dealing with the new lockdown rules and planning for recovery.

What next?

We predict that working from home will become the “new normal” for many smaller service-based businesses. This offers reduced office costs and more flexibility.

New and enhanced “work from home” security and collaboration software will develop further next year, and we encourage our clients to review their internet security regularly.        

2021 will see many business adopt new technologies to help them streamline their administration. We predict most of our clients will move to Cloud accounting software ahead of the April 2022 “Making Tax Digital” deadline. Cloud accounting software has several advantages for business owners:

  • A clear picture of your current financial position, in real-time;
  • Your accounts 100% online, so there’s no software to install and everything is backed up automatically. Updates are free and instantly available;
  • Your bank feeds your data directly into your accounts on a DAILY basis;
  • You take a photo on your phone of a purchase invoice and it is posted automatically; and
  • Could see your results, who owes you money, who you owe and your business bank balance 24/7, 365 from your smart phone, tablet or computer.  

Please talk to us about moving your accounting system online ahead of the new legislation in 2022.

What is the best use of your time in January?

Clearly there will be short term actions on EU trade for some. However we encourage all clients to consider taking time to prepare a 2021 Strategic plan.

“A sailor without a destination will never get a favourable wind”

If you have a vision of what you want your business to look like when it is “complete” then you are in a position to drive your business towards the vision, and you can monitor how you are doing as you go along.

If you do not have a strategic plan then you could get blown around like flotsam in the sea. This way and that way without any control.

A plan looks at all the things a business could do and narrows it down to the things it is actually good at doing.  A strategic plan also helps you determine where to spend time, resources and money.

So how do you do a strategic plan?

  • Take time to review your own personal objectives - the business is there to provide you with what you want from life, do not forget this.
  • Look at where you are now, your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Take external advice so you have a clear understanding of your position in the marketplace, the competition, your systems and the way you do things and what you are good at and what you are not.
  • Focus on where you want to be (say) in 2 years, what you want your business to look like when it is “complete” or running profitably and successfully. Then you can determine your priorities - the big issues that you need to focus on - this is the strategic plan!
  • Write down your vision and define what you must achieve and the actions you need to take. Monitor how you are doing towards your vision each month and what actions have been completed and what needs to be done to keep you moving towards your plan.
  • Allocate responsibility for taking the actions.
  • Monitor, review and adjust your regular activities to keep you on track towards your plan.

Please talk to us about how we can help you achieve your goals - we have helped many other businesses grow and succeed!