Hero image for Get ready for the Brexit impact on business

Get ready for the Brexit impact on business

On 1 January 2021, the UK will have left the EU single market and customs union. Find out how Brexit will affect business and what steps you need to take.

5 min read

When the transition period comes to an end on 1 January 2021, the UK will have left the EU single market and customs union. This will have a major impact on how UK businesses continue to trade with the EU and the European Economic Area (the EU plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). It can be confusing to know exactly how Brexit will affect your business but we’ve pulled together a bunch of helpful links to get you ready.

To get an understanding of what information you’ll need, start with the Government’s Transition Checker. It takes about 5 minutes and will signpost you to resources you need to get your business ready for Brexit.

To make things easier, we’ve pulled together the links we think might matter most to our customers.

Trading with the EU

If you trade between the UK and the EU these resources highlight how Brexit affects you.

There will be controls on the movement of goods between Great Britain (England, Wales or Scotland) and the EU, outlined in the Border Operating Model guidance.* These controls will be rolled out in 3 stages up until 1 July 2021.

If you’re based in England, Wales or Scotland, and if this is part of your business, you may need to take action to prepare your business to import goods from the EU to Great Britain.*

There will also be changes around exporting goods from Great Britain to the EU.* Find out what you need to do to prepare.

If you are moving goods between the UK and EU, you will need to get an Economic Operator Registration and Identification – also known as an EORI number.*

If you currently use a CE marking on your products, it’s likely you’ll need to start using the UK Conformity Assessed marking instead.*

If your business is based in Northern Ireland and is involved in importing or exporting goods, the Northern Ireland protocol will apply.*

More help for businesses moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland is available from the new Trader Support Service.*

If you're a UK VAT-registered business there are some changes to when you can account for import VAT and when you need to.*

Selling services to the EU?

If your firm sells services to the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), Brexit will affect your business. Read the government’s guidance which covers everything from structuring your business to recognising professional qualifications.*

For information about immigration and employing people in the EU, country by country guidance is available.* This also has information on travel insurance, pet travel and pensions and sector-specific rules.

UK online service providers who operate in the EU/EEA will also be subject to changes. The eCommerce Directive framework will no longer apply after 31 December 2020. Read the guidance on the eCommerce Directive after the transition period before then so you know what steps you need to take.*

Your accounts. Sorted.

Spend less time on business admin and more on business development with QuickBooks cloud accounting software.

Discover QuickBooks today
QuickBooks screenshot

Consumer rights and data

From credit card charges to refunds on products and services in the EU, it’s important to understand how changes to consumer rights and data will affect your business and you personally.

There may be some changes to the law that protects your rights when you buy goods or services after 1 January 2021. Read more about buying things from Europe from 1 January 2021.

If you collect and retain personal data from customers in the EU, you may need to put in place alternative transfer mechanisms to legally receive personal data from the EU to stay compliant.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has a useful data checker tool and further guidance for small businesses.

Intellectual property rights and copyright law will also be impacted. If this applies to you or your business, take a look at this guidance on trademarks and registered design in the UK and changes to UK copyright law for businesses and consumers after the transition period.

More help and information

t’s still difficult to understand the full impact of Brexit on businesses but almost all business owners will need to prepare for the change. Fortunately help is available.

If you can’t find the information you need on the Government’s website, you can add your query to an online contact form and get your question answered by phone or email.

The UK Government has also made a number of live and on-demand webinars available for specific sectors to help you prepare. New webinars are being added all the time so keep checking.

You may also find it useful to look at European Commission guidance on getting ready for the end of the transition period. You’ll find every type of service, goods and other information covered from the EU’s perspective.

QuickBooks will continue to support our customers through the transition period and beyond January 2021. 

* More information about this can be found on GOV.UK.

Feel you’re better informed about the Brexit impact on businesses? The QuickBooks blog covers a wide range of business-related topics – it’s all part of our mission to help small businesses grow.

Discover the QuickBooks Blog