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Brexit reflections six months on

You might remember at the end of 2020 we asked Gold Partners, Grant Thornton to give us their thoughts on what the impact of Brexit might be on tech companies. Six months on, with Brexit, finally done and dusted, here are their thoughts on how things have progressed.

‘Interestingly, Brexit seems to have strengthened ‘Brand Britain’. We surveyed 611 UK medium-sized businesses (defined as having a £50million-£500million turnover) between 28 May – 8 June 2021, and 70% of them told us being a part of ‘Brand Britain’ gave them an advantage when looking to trade overseas. And almost as many (62%) felt well-prepared for the challenges Brexit had brought so far despite admitting to being uncertain about things at the beginning of the year.

‘However, these businesses also felt there were still challenges ahead as a direct consequence of Brexit. These include trade (44%) and VAT (35%) compliance issues, setting up new operations outside of the UK (40%), and immigration and people mobility problems (34%).

‘60% of the respondents also revealed they were focussing more on the UK market due to the uncertainty mentioned earlier, while 40% said their priority in the next six months is international growth once things have settled down a bit more. In fact, international growth is many businesses’ third-highest priority after technology (48%) and development of skills (44%).

 ‘Overall, the businesses we surveyed are more positive about Brexit than was expected and have proven to be very resilient at dealing with the fallout from the agreement and the chaos of a global pandemic. The environment will continue to change regularly as the grace period finishes and world economies reopen.

 ‘Brexit can also bring new opportunities elsewhere, as has been shown with the Australian trade deal, with a free trade arrangement in places like India seen as an attractive possibility for two-thirds of the businesses surveyed. Conversations are happening across the globe right now about new trade deals, so it’s possible that Brexit, in fact, might even prove to be a game changer that enables UK businesses to trade overseas in places they might not have considered before.’

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