Prepare for no deal, firms told as Brexit advice service is launched
Firms here have been urged to prepare for a no-deal crash-out from the EU as the Institute of Directors (Iod) launched what it said was an "unprecedented" Brexit advice service.
The Brexit Ready NI initiative will run until the end of the month in a partnership between the IoD and business advisory firm KPMG.
There are webinars and workshops taking place across Northern Ireland, and they're open to IoD members and non-members.
KPMG partner Frankie Devlin, who leads the firm's indirect tax services group in Belfast, said: "With a range of possibilities around how the UK will leave the European Union, either with or without a deal, or following an extension to the Brexit process, it is understandable that many businesses are unsure how to adequately prepare.
"Our key advice to those organisations is to get ready for a 'no deal'.
"The negative consequences of being ill-prepared can be enormous, while the work undertaken will also garner tremendous benefits regardless of the outcome of negotiations."
KPMG and the IoD said Brexit Ready NI advises on matters from how to prepare for a 'no deal' and employment and immigration issues, to getting ready for any changes in the tax and customs landscape.
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Gordon Milligan, chairman of IoD NI, said: "With just weeks to go until the UK is due to leave the European Union, many businesses are still preparing for their post-Brexit future, and we want to help them to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible.
"As an organisation, we are privileged to have access to many of the leading experts on Brexit - people close to the heart of negotiations with a deep understanding of how businesses may be impacted across a range of scenarios."
He said Brexit Ready NI would offer free guidance "on a scale never before seen".
Mr Devlin added: "Through this initiative with IoD NI, we aim to assist businesses with this vital groundwork, whether it be helping firms to understand their supply chains and how they will be impacted, looking at customs duty procedures, or advice on how to communicate changes with staff."
Earlier this month, Danske Bank chief economist, Conor Lambe, also warned firms to prepare for a no-deal Brexit as it downgraded its forecast for the economy to 0.9%.
He said: "Businesses should behave prudently and use this time to ensure they are as prepared as they can be for a worst-case scenario, no-deal Brexit, in case it occurs."
Brexit Ready NI is holding drop-in advice clinics in North West Regional College, Londonderry, on Thursday, October 17.
It's also holding advice clinics at the Mid-Ulster Council Offices in Cookstown on October 22, KPMG offices in Belfast on October 18 and 23 and Hilton Hotel, Belfast on October 25. A webinar series will be broadcast on October 15, 23 and 29 from 12.30pm-1.30pm.