A BOSS at an IT company has set out his advice for firms concerned about business infrastructure in the wake of Brexit.

Britain’s exit from the EU on January 31 left only 11 months for its full departure to be prepared for.

Richard Austin, new business director at Ringwood-based IT software solutions business KFA Connect, said: “Now that the withdrawal from the EU is underway, there are several considerations that businesses need to be aware of, not only with employee regulations but specifically around IT systems, and the buying and selling of products.

“Firstly, if you are a UK-based business buying or selling into Europe you will need to plan for potential changes to VAT. The reverse charge of VAT may no longer be applicable, so you may need to start paying or charging VAT from businesses that you deal with in Europe.

“You will need an EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number, which starts with a GB if you want to continue to import or export goods into or out of the UK – without one you risk increased costs and delays with HMRC.”

It is still unclear what changes are likely to be introduced. However, KFA Connect recommends allowing more time for delivery and receipt of goods."

Mr Austin said: “Different types of goods have different import requirements, so check these carefully. Things to look out for are: Do you need a duty deferment account? Who will make the import declarations? And is a proof of origin required?

“If you’re relying on procuring products from the EU, then ensure that your forecasting is as accurate as possible, allow for more time to make sure that you can continue to meet production demands. The same applies to selling goods into the EU. Delivery charges may increase as clearance through customs will take longer.

“If you have an e-commerce arm to your businesses, you may need to review your pricing, allowing for additional charges from suppliers, customs and logistics providers. Companies that decide to relocate offices or accounts from the UK to EU countries will need to make system changes to add additional locations and integrate with other systems.”

He said the physical location of a business, or the location where an e-commerce site is hosted, would become more important.

“Companies with websites currently hosted in EU member states may decide to move these back to the UK. It might also be worth considering new language translations, new delivery methods, customs charges, new product pricing in foreign currency or new VAT charging functionality if new trade deals are struck with different countries,” he added.

“New systems and processes may increase the requirement for purchase orders and invoices to be processed using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), ensuring that data is transferred securely and within stringent regulations. Equally, if you are a UK citizen running a business in an EU country, then you need to be aware of different regulatory requirements you may need to comply with.”

The security and protection of data will continue to be of paramount importance. The government plans to incorporate the current GDPR legislation, which was introduced in 2018, into UK law after Brexit – with the same restrictions applying.

A series of sector-based planning notices have been issued by the UK Government and European Commission, to help plan during the transition phase.