Will your business need to restructure to cope with new UK-EU trading arrangements?


According to new research from accountancy giant, BDO, almost a third (32%) of mid-sized businesses believe they must make changes to their current business model in order to remain viable as a result of the new UK-EU trading arrangements.

BDO’s survey of 500 medium-sized businesses revealed that in the eight months since the Brexit deal was signed, 36% of businesses are prioritising adapting their business to align with the new requirements since Britian left the European Union.

This survey also revealed that 25% of these firms are now focusing on their recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Also, 49% of businesses surveyed reported that increased costs as a result of the new trading arrangements will need to be passed down to customers. A further 38% of businesses now plan to onshore suppliers in the next three to six months.

Despite all the ongoing impact caused by Brexit in the supply chain sector, less than 4% of firms reported to BDO that they will no longer trade at all with the EU and its member states.

Stuart Lise, Partner at BDO, commented: “The resilience of mid-sized businesses has been tested beyond all expectation in the last few years, but they have continued to demonstrate their ability to quickly adapt to new and often challenging scenarios.

“While the onshoring trend sets to rise, businesses are still keen to continue to trade internationally and seek out new international markets. As they navigate this transition and adapt to new ways of working it’s important these ambitious businesses are given adequate government support to ensure future growth is not hindered by rising costs and red tape.”

Industry reaction

Nick Ford, Chief Technology Evangelist at low code provider, Mendix, said:  “Brexit continues to put pressure on organisations in the UK, as they look to adapt to the new normal and the new trading relationship with the EU. This research shows that many organisations are going to need a complete overhaul just to cope with this new normal. Businesses had spent a lot of time preparing for Brexit, with Mendix research finding that the average organisation spent 2.6 years getting ready for the UK’s departure. Unfortunately, the pandemic disrupted these preparations, with the same research finding that 64% of business leaders had to put Brexit plans on hold during the pandemic.

Technology is one way that businesses can deal with the impact of both Brexit and the pandemic. Businesses definitely understand this, with the research finding that nearly two thirds of businesses are deploying new tech or processes. Two thirds of organisations say the IT department has been instrumental in preparing for Brexit (65%) – and that it is better prepared for the transition than the rest of the business (65%). Businesses should invest in low-code technology, as it enables IT departments to meet business needs more quickly, avoiding inflexible architectures or integration headaches. It also allows citizen developers to combine their own expertise with the IT teams to develop apps that will make a difference.”