Brexit plans have not been prioritised by companies
The latest quarterly (April – June 2017) InterTradeIreland Business Monitor Report, shows that, despite the UK voting to leave the EU 12 months ago, the proportion of companies with a plan in place to deal with the potential outcomes of Brexit has remained static at 2 per cent.
Exporters already experiencing negative impacts
This figure only increases to three per cent for those exporting, despite 34 per cent stating that they have already experienced a negative impact due to Brexit. Exporting businesses claim that the lack of clarity around Brexit is stalling planning efforts with more than three quarters (77 per cent) reporting that uncertainty makes it difficult to plan
Firms seeking Brexit guidance
Firms are now starting to seek more guidance on Brexit matters with more than a third of businesses with cross-border sales (36 per cent) saying they would welcome additional one-to-one support and a quarter of exporters (24 per cent) wanting additional information on tariffs or licensing (25 per cent).
Economy steady despite concerns
56 per cent of firms are reporting they are stable, the highest figure since the Quarterly Business Monitor started to ask businesses about their stability and growth in 2011. Coupled with the fact that 82 per cent of firms across the island are working at close to capacity, the Business Monitor reveals remarkable steadiness in the economy with few signs yet of direct negative impacts from the prevailing uncertainty. Despite concerns around Brexit, the vast majority (76 per cent) of firms are reporting any impact as neutral.
Employment and sales growth for companies trading across the border
Further signs of solidity are evident 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.
Stability gives time and space to plan
The stability is encouraging and it’s essential that firms take advantage of this to plan their next steps. A steady environment can provide ‘thinking time’ and it’s important businesses use this opportunity to begin to research, compile and initiate plans that will ensure they remain resilient beyond Brexit.
InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service
InterTradeIreland has 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.
Unique position of InterTradeIreland
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. As a result, our Brexit Advisory Service is tailored to offer key advice to local organisations. This includes 100% financial support up to £2000 towards expert advice in relation to specific issues such as movement of labour, goods, services and currency management.
Planning now can help to bring future stability
InterTradeIreland’s message is clear: while we recognise the pressures facing small businesses, there is, nevertheless, a window of opportunity. This must 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. Every firm operating on a cross-border basis or with ambitions to grow, should plan, act and engage today – this is the key to ongoing stability and success.
InterTradeIreland Business Monitor
InterTradeIreland’s quarterly Business Monitor survey is the largest and most comprehensive business survey on the island and is based on the views of more than 750 business managers across Northern Ireland and Ireland since 2008. The Business Monitor differs from other surveys in that it is seen to be the ‘voice of local businesses’ feeding directly from telephone interviews conducted with firms of all sizes from across a range of sectors to track all-island economic indicators such as sales, employment, business outlook and other specific topical research areas on a quarter by quarter basis. A copy of the 2017 Q2 InterTradeIreland Business Monitor Executive Summary can be viewed here .