With research leaders such as Ross Brown, director of impact at the University of St Andrews, making bold predictions that small businesses may be the worst affected when the UK leaves the European Union, it is vital that businesses recognise the importance of providing certainty to their employees and customers.
In the remaining days before the UK leaves the EU on 29 March, an air of uncertainty and speculation weighs heavy on the UK business landscape – affecting small firms, in particular. Whether the UK agrees a ‘soft’ Brexit, a hard Brexit or no deal at all, we can bet on the inevitability of change. Here are three steps small businesses can take to start prepping for March.
Small businesses will need to be nimble to accommodate the quick turnaround on learning and reworking legacy processes. Since there is no guarantee that broader procedures will operate fluidly following Brexit, businesses need to implement a contingency plan to alleviate any potential risks of delayed deliverables – whether that be payments, goods, and so on.
Technology plays a key role in adapting to and learning new system behaviours. Through the implementation of proper technology systems, small businesses can use existing data to play through real-life ‘what if’ scenarios and best prepare for various outcomes.
Many businesses will face the realisation that their current contracts lack the proper requirements to deal with Brexit and the changing relationship between the UK and EU.
Learning new system behaviours is a key learning curve that UK companies and EU organisations that do business with the UK will need to prepare for. From item transfers and connectivity to tax codes and definitions, things could change quickly and drastically.
Taking it one step further, businesses will need to ensure they understand the rights and status of all their EU customers and partners, as well as their employees if they have offices outside of the UK.
From a technical point of view, there really is no different between a soft or hard Brexit; however, regardless of the outcome, businesses must begin preparing for any result by assessing the potential impacts the impending withdrawal could have on their internal processes and customers.
Even businesses that have no direct cross-border operations between the UK and EU will feel the impact of changing business processes and regulations.
Business management software, such as SAP Business One, helps customers streamline key processes, gain greater insight into their business and make decisions based on real-time information. It also offers customers a one-stop-shop whereby they can patch their existing enterprise resource management software suite to stay up-to-date with evolving regulations. This suite of software ensures small businesses automatically implement any new regulatory changes or adjustments.
As a best practice, small businesses can maintain transparent and open lines of communication with all internal and external parties, as well as use resources such as SAP Business One to help Brexit-proof processes. Having integrated business planning scenarios in place will help organisations stay ahead of the curve as best as they can.
Andreas Wolfinger is portfolio/solution manager at SAP AG and product owner at Business One.
About SAP Business One
SAP Business One is business management software designed for small and medium-sized enterprises. As an ERP solution it aims to automate key business functions in financials, operations and human resources. The software helps streamline key processes, gain greater insight into your business and make decisions based on real-time information.
This contributed article has been written by a guest writer at the invitation of Procurement Leaders. Procurement Leaders received no payment directly connected with the publishing of this content.