British businesses face a raft of changes when Brexit is fully enacted from January 1, 2021.

Even with a comprehensive trade deal between the UK and the European Union, major alterations will be introduced in the way that goods and services are imported and exported – including rule changes affecting the movement of products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The main impact will be on paperwork - and the requirement to fill in customs and other declarations, ensuring that VAT compliance remains intact and freight is moved smoothly.

However, going forward, there will be two independent regulatory regimes and it will be necessary to keep on top of even the smallest differences to stay compliant – and in business.

Here are some key areas to be aware of from this New Year onwards.


Customs forms

It’s estimated by HMRC that the number of customs declarations submitted by UK companies will rise from 37 million in 2020 to over 215m in 2021, mainly as a consequence of the end of the transition period following Brexit.

Add to that the increased complexity of supply chains and the added bureaucracy involved in any shipments to Northern Ireland and an inevitable uptick in paperwork is coming.

The Post Office has confirmed that every parcel sent from Great Britain into the EU now needs to have a customs form attached with even small businesses despatching small items facing an extra layer of paperwork.

Larger enterprises will need to carefully record the origin of components to comply with rules determining what is considered a EU-manufactured product.

Whatever the route, the required information will end up in the import/export declaration, which states what the good is, its value, and how much tax is liable against it.

Headed into the EU, that data must be lodged in the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freightsystem, or Chief. For Northern Ireland, it’s the Customs Declarations Service that takes the strain.

 And there are additional controls covering areas such as safety and risk, and food hygiene, that must be adequately fulfilled.

It will all soak up valuable time and resource.

To retain your focus on your day-to-day business, perhaps you should consider using a virtual assistant with knowledge of customs procedures and with an eye for detail to ensure your organisation doesn’t get trapped at the border.


Professional Services

 One primary alteration that has come out of the EU-UK trade deal is that there will no longer be mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

That means UK businesses will need to negotiate additional bureaucracy to provide services like accountancy and legal advice in a member state of the European Union.

One possible route is to utilise a qualified local partner who can be your boots on the ground. 

SmartPA has Partners in most EU nations who can offer a simpler way to remain active, with local knowledge and contacts.


Get Researched

Regardless of the deal in place, there will inevitably be divergence between the British market and those with in the EU.

There will be separate routes to achieve regulatory approval and a huge switch in the compliance required from a technical and even marketing aspect.

It’s best to stay up to speed with comprehensive research.

SmartPA’s virtual assistants can provide detailed answers to questions specific to your sector by examining the regulatory and the cultural barriers going forward and offer effective recommendations that make business sense.

Find out more about our research services here

For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact SmartPA today.