The new year is fast approaching and January 1 has taken on a whole new significance.
This date is important as it marks the start of new rules for business with the EU. The UK has left the EU, and there will be changes regardless of whether or not a free trade agreement is secured. To prepare for the new rules, businesses need to act now so the flow of people, data, goods and services between the UK and EU can continue.
There is no benefit in waiting for the outcome of negotiations, so businesses are advised to follow the guidance and support on the UK Government website.
The website includes an easy to use transition tracker, which creates a personalised list of actions for businesses to follow. Businesses can also sign up for updates and receive notifications of any changes.
Many businesses in Wales have already taken the necessary steps to prepare for the changes ahead, including Naissance, a company selling natural and organic health and beauty products.
Naissance is based in Neath and was established in 2005, growing rapidly from its CEO’s bedroom to employing more than 100 staff in the UK and Germany.
CEO Jem Skelding started Naissance after being inspired by his childhood in Africa, as he experienced a lack of readymade products but an abundance of natural materials. His mother taught him from a young age how to make use of plant materials, oils and herbs and this led him to set up Naissance.
Clearly he was onto something, as last year Naissance had a turnover of approximately £25m and it hopes to hit £100m in the next five years. Two thirds of Naissance’s sales comes from outside of the UK so it is definitely making its mark internationally.
Jem and his team have been busy preparing for January 1 since the start of the year. He explained: “We have a contingency in place as we have an office and employees in Germany, so we can send additional stock over into Germany and hold it there for distribution.
“However, the majority of what we do goes on in the UK and therefore the main preparation is speaking to our suppliers and distributors. We need to know how they are getting on or if they are foreseeing any problems. The supply chain discussion is really important to us.
“We’ve spoken to our accountants and solicitors in the UK, so we are fully in the picture of what might happen with tax changes and export and import documentation. We then sorted our EORI number to make sure we can trade and ship goods easily in and out of Europe.
“We also used the UK Government website and found the checklist particularly useful to make sure we’ve gone through all the correct steps. It made the process a lot more simple.”
Taking it seriously
With these plans in place, Jem is hopeful the impact of the new rules will be limited for Naissance. Therefore, he urges other businesses to take similar steps and make use of the information that is available.
He added: “The advice I would give is to take it seriously and make sure you are prepared, do everything you possibly can to look at the ways it could impact your business.
“Speak to your suppliers and distributors in Europe. This should be treated in the same way as you would carry out a risk assessment in your premises, you don’t want to find yourself unprepared for January and regret it.”
To understand the changes for your business, use the simple tool on GOV.UK/transition for a personalised summary of the actions you need to take.