How your business can start preparing for Brexit, whatever the outcome

Brought to you by SAP Concur

The news is full of big companies discussing preparing for Brexit. But what about the 99% of businesses in the UK that are small and medium-sized? What preparations should they be making?

Brexit

If you trade with any EU countries or travel to the EU on business, your travel, expense and invoice systems will need to change after Brexit, whether it happens on 31 October 2019, before or after!

And while we don’t have specifics yet, it makes sense to be sure you’ve got your house in order so you’re better equipped to deal with the changes more quickly when they do come. Are your processes robust? Do you capture all the data you need to? Do you make the most of what automation has to offer? At SAP Concur we are keeping a close eye on what’s happening so we’re able to develop solutions and advise clients when changes do come into effect.

So, what things should you be looking at in particular? Here are some pointers for travel, expense and invoice.

Changes to business travel post-Brexit

The first thing to consider is how frequently your employees travel to the EU on business and what percentage of these trips can be considered business-critical. This will help you assess the impact it’s likely to have.

Update your travel policies and procedures around travelling to the EU. Who will be responsible for checking permissions and applying for any paperwork? You might assign this to someone in the company or you could consider working with a travel or immigration service provider. Consider too how technology could make the process easier and avoid any trips falling through the gaps.

To stay up-to-date on developments and announcements around travelling to the EU, keep an eye on sources such as UK government foreign travel advice and European Commission press releases.

Changes to expenses post-Brexit

The drop in the value of the pound means that travel overseas is more expensive, so it’s more important than ever to keep an eye on costs.

Think about how expenses on foreign trips are handled and look at the options.

Consider prepaid travel or currency cards, which you load with currency before you go and use in the same way as a debit card. You can sometimes lock in an exchange rate before you go, so you don’t need to worry about currency fluctuations. And the fact the cards are pre-loaded means you can keep a tight control over costs.

If employees carry cash, exchange currency before they travel when rates are at their most favourable. Don’t wait until they’re at the airport or in their destination country where rates will be much less favourable.

And if employees submit expenses when they return from travel, bear in mind the trip may have hurt their wallet more than it used to. Automated systems such as Concur Expense make it easier for employees to submit returns and quicker for companies to process them.

Changes to VAT processes post-Brexit

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you will no longer be able to use the EU VAT refund electronic system to reclaim VAT from EU member states. Instead, you will need to deal with countries individually and use paper forms for each country.

If you don’t keep paper-based records at the moment, it is sensible to start keeping them on relevant purchases until we know what is going to happen. Also, consider how much more time reclaims are likely to take and assess workloads accordingly.

For more on this, see Preparing for Brexit with Concur and Meridian.

Planning for the future

By auditing your processes and procedures now, you’ll be quicker off the mark when changes do need to be made. And remember, when you have automated systems such as Concur Expense and Concur Invoice in place, a lot of the hard work will be done for you.

For the latest updates and advice for businesses, visit www.gov.uk/business-uk-leaving-eu.

Until then, let’s hang tight and keep an eye on Brexit talk developments.