What Brexit Might Mean For SMEs

Man and women working in small wholefoods business

It seems like an absolute eternity ago that the EU referendum took place back in 2016, but Brexit has finally now happened and it is time for people to set their differences aside and look ahead.

The last year (at least) has been marked by fears of what Brexit might hold and, while it still remains unclear, here is what we can expect in the near future.

Nucleus Survey

Nucleus Commercial Finance conducted a survey in November 2020 (before the EU Withdrawal deal was signed) which looked at what business owners thought the impact of Brexit would be. The survey revealed that 30% of SMEs believed that Brexit would have a negative impact on their future with just 22% stating that they thought that they would benefit.

New EU/UK Relations

Of course, there are also new EU/UK relations to consider and how this might affect trade.

HGV travelling on motorway in UK

An agreement on the future of relations was agreed following intense negotiations in December 2020, which means that goods will not be subject to tariffs or quotas. Despite this, there are new procedures for moving goods to and from the UK which means that there will be more red tape and additional costs which could be an issue for some.

Change for SMEs

It is hard to outline exactly what will change for SMEs and it will depend on your operation, but some of the more significant changes will be that businesses will need an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number for important or exporting goods, firms will need to register a license via sponsor to recruit workers from overseas and there may be extra steps if travelling in the EU. Additionally, VAT is collected at the point of sale rather than the point of importation and this could negatively impact supplies to the UK.


This is clearly a difficult time for businesses, especially when the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt just about every aspect of life. This is why businesses should look to see what support is available to them, such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) through lenders and is partially guaranteed by the Government, which can help businesses to manage during this challenging time.

Brexit has finally happened and now businesses will need to adjust to this new chapter, which of course has only been made harder by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which is why business owners need to be on the ball right now.

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