Brexit opportunities

Brexit opportunities

The view from

Andrew O’Connor FCCA, principal, Accounting Services Kerry, on new UK border issues

Accounting Services Kerry is a practice I set up earlier this year, just prior to the lockdown. The firm provides a range of financial services to a number of retail clients, including accounts preparation and personal tax returns. We also provide advice during these difficult times on how to access working capital, either through the various government support schemes or from financial institutions. I also advise the hospitality sector on the grant application process for programmes such as the Covid-19 adaptation and restart schemes that rolled out in response to the pandemic.

Many of our customers are businesses that during the lockdown were forced to curtail their services or close entirely. As a consequence, preservation of cash and reducing outflows is paramount as revenue has dried up. To help with this, in the early months of the lockdown I regularly updated the business website with the latest financial supports available through the State agencies.

Recently I’ve set up a new company, Customs Accounting Services.  This is designed to attract new clients who currently trade with the UK, but who haven’t had to submit customs declarations in the past. I hope to take advantage of what is predicted to be a five-fold increase in customs declarations, according to the UK Road Haulage Association. It has warned that the number of declaration forms for tariffs alone will rocket from the current 50 million a year to 200-250 million a year.

Looking to 2021, my goal will be to put the practice on a firm footing. I’ll then be able to take on some additional staff to manage the expected increase in workload. At the same time, I will continue to develop the other elements of the business, such as the customs intermediary services that we will provide going forward, and which we expect to fully come into their own when the UK leaves the EU on the 1 January 2021.

Like so many other people, the biggest change this year for me has been working from home. I’ve tried to maintain a healthy balance between the need for safety and for personal interaction. I’ve endeavoured to work remotely as much as I can, but nothing can replace the personal touch, so I’ve continued to meet clients on a one-on-one basis, ever mindful of the two metre distancing and any other restrictions required by the government.

I was self-employed before, when I was younger, prior to pursuing a career in finance. The one lesson I learned from my career so far in business and in finance is don’t give up. Establishing yourself, takes time and effort, particularly during a pandemic, but if you keep at it and work hard, with a bit of luck you will find business picks up, and all that hard work pays off in the end.