Belfast Telegraph

EU exit no time for knee-jerk reaction

Credit professionals prepare for the worst and also hope for the best ... and that's what we'll continue to do during Brexit

By Paul Taylor

Well, three months have passed since the triggering of Article 50 which started the clock ticking on the formal negotiations for the UK's divorce from the European Union (EU).

This means we have 21 months left to get the best deal possible and also brings the good news that we have 21 months to prepare for the unknown.

What we are going to see over the next 21 months is posturing from the UK and EU negotiators taking up opposing political stances to ensure that the other isn't going to do well.

This is going to see markets and currency fluctuate beyond the predictable.

The fact remains that very little has actually changed. There are no decisions on what Northern Ireland will look like post-Brexit, the vast majority of things are the same now as they were a year ago.

We do have some issues: we aren't getting many dollars or euro for the pound so holidaying outside the UK will cost more.

We are seeing inflation increase, but in our little part of the UK we are also seeing increased tourism bringing money into our economy and increased employment so it's not all doom and gloom.

Speaking at a conference on Brexit last month, I said that the one thing we can all take away from this is that very little has changed and there are plenty of things we can be doing to prepare.

Credit professionals are experts at preparing for the worst and hoping for the best and that's what we will continue to do ... it's time to look at your sales ledgers, identify the risk and take action gradually over the next few months pro-actively reduce and manage that risk. Time is on our side and we need to act now.

Businesses in Northern Ireland need to plan for what may happen and put measures in place to reduce and manage credit and trading risks.

It is not time for knee-jerk overreactions or listening to worst case scenarios because we simply do not know what March 2019 will bring.

What we do know is where we are now and when Brexit will most likely happen, everything else in between is preparation time to map out and secure our future.

  • Paul Taylor is chairman of the Northern Ireland branch of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM)

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