Planning for Brexit
This article comes from Edinburgh, where I'm making my annual pilgrimage, but rather than regaling readers with show suggestions after only a couple of days it seemed more appropriate to address a serious threat to the profession that should be worrying us all.
Suddenly, the departure from the European Union is months away rather than years. Even so, unless any of you have more information than is readily apparent from the media, nobody has a clue about what the consequences are likely to be either in the very short-term or in years to come.
There could be anarchy, there could be a financial bonanza or, quite possibly, nobody will notice the difference at least for a while.
My question today is what firms are doing to ready themselves for an event that could be the biggest change in living memory.
Staff could disappear, clients go under, while tax law could change significantly before too long and auditing regulations may also follow suit. The economy may also be in for a significant jolt with interest and exchange rates going mad.
In other words, every aspect of our businesses might be affected to a degree within a year from now, and much more significantly within two to three.
If you happen to be based in Northern Ireland, the consequences could be even more extreme.
While I have no doubt that there are many discussions going on behind-the-scenes at larger firms, it would not surprise me to discover that partners in most smaller practices have done little more planning than to buy a shovel with which to dig up some sand to bury their heads.
Perhaps the best way forward is to ignore Brexit completely and hope that it goes away or happens without our noticing. However, Bernard Jenkin's millennium bug analogy has caused much controversy, not to mention a great deal of derision.
At the other end of the scale, it would be possible to come up with the equivalent to a nuclear bomb shelter at the end of the garden, providing protection that may never be necessary and could also be the source of much laughter from your neighbours.
This article is really exploratory since it seems likely that many readers will be desperate to get tips from any of their peers who have already addressed this matter in a thorough and detailed fashion and have the answers to any of the questions raised or maybe even all of them.