The impact of Brexit on smaller financial services firms 

The impact of Brexit on smaller financial services firms 

Paolo Sartori, managing director at TransWorldCom, shares his thoughts

Brexit has dominated the media landscape for well over two years, but what very little of this constant coverage has addressed is the fate of smaller financial services firms after March 29th.

Since 2016, there has been a cloud of uncertainty over small and medium-sized businesses. If you can offer a service that protects against this uncertainty, you will not only appeal to customers desperate for certainty and continuity, but also future-proof your business for Brexit and beyond.

Compliance and changes to regulations are taken as a given for firms to keep up with Brexit, but differentiating yourself by the service you provide could leave those who take this opportunity at a huge advantage.

We have seen a myriad of articles written on how Brexit might affect our productivity and growth once we leave the EU, but very few on the solution to this.

There are a wide range of ways in which financial services, and in particular accountancy firms, can fight back.

This becomes especially relevant at this time of year when accountancy firms and wider financial services are very much under the proverbial cosh. It is only set to worsen as we commence a wave of uncharted Brexit territory and its ensuing administration.

In what is one of the busiest periods for firms, thinking about improvements to procedures is often far from everyone’s minds, but with such a monumental event as Brexit around the corner, this kind of planning has never been more necessary.

What can be done?

The first piece of advice would be to use Brexit as an opportunity to digitise outdated filing and administration procedures.

This can seem like a futile task, but it is one of the easiest ways in which to cut down on the time spent on administration. At busy times, it is crucial to avoid bottlenecks, and ancient systems not built to withstand a modern way of work are almost a recipe for office traffic.

Make full use of your office space by minimising space taken up by paper data storage.

Digitising the mountains of paper documents and data stored in an office may sound like the mythical never-ending task, but this kind of time investment is really the only way to modernise a key part of the business.

Freeing up valuable space in the office can also help a firm increase productivity without the need to relocate in order to expand.

Protect yourself from disastrous losses of data. This not only applies to the everyday management of personal computers and regular saving; a loss of historical data records through disasters such as fires or floods could leave firms in a very difficult situation with very little way of recovering important information. This why backing up data in multiple locations and forms is key—if one fails the other two will still be secure.

Ensure your data is secure and accessible through the use of private and hybrid server connections. With no data adequacy agreement currently in place with the EU, a no-deal Brexit could well affect the accessibility of cloud data that the largest providers often store in secret locations on the European continent.

Whilst backing up data to a cloud storage medium helps protect from data loss, relying on this for something like client data could result in potential problems. This is why private servers are one of the best catch-all options for data storage and accessibility.

Plan your infrastructure investments around your goals and future plans, not your current requirements. One of the biggest mistakes with tech investment is the lack of foresight to the future plans of the business. This often makes future tech upgrades more expensive, furthering the reluctance to use technology as a form of increasing productivity. Whilst cheaper options are attractive in the short-term, a lack of planning could result in higher costs in the long run.

Investigate long-term contracts that help protect you from future changes to policy. Long-term planning again becomes hugely important when negotiating deals for services to the business. For example, a telecoms provider is likely to have options that, whilst expensive upfront, will save you a significant amount of money over the course of the contract. And, equally, the reverse is often the case, with cheap initial costs often comes more expensive the longer the contract runs.

Secure your connectivity to avoid losses in productivity through a lack of internet. A stable internet connection is one of the simplest ways in which a business can increase its productivity, often by a sizable amount.

The internet is a vital part of the way in which a modern business operates, with breaks in connectivity resulting in a huge amount of wasted time for the entirety of the office. Each hour spent in the proverbial dark is a missed opportunity.

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