Are you ready for the New Year?

Guest post by Paul Smith for Jarrovian Wealth

It’s been a tough year for everyone, whatever type of business they are in, just keeping everything ticking over has been a huge challenge alone.

While we’ve all been focused on the crisis and finding ways to get through lockdowns and adapt to new rules to ensure everything is operating safely, it’s understandable that plans may have been put on the back burner. However, now it’s time to put some thought into planning for the new year ahead – not least ensuring businesses are ready for changes that Brexit may bring to the way they operate.

Adam Young, Director at Jarrovian Wealth, says: “It’s tough enough for many small firms simply focusing on the day-to-day here and now, let along thinking ahead a month or so. But, getting prepared, ensuring all the loose ends are tied up, and any pre-Brexit red tape and procedures are ready to go, will put you in the best shape for any challenges the new year may bring.”

With just weeks before we hit the end of the year and head into a brave new Brexit world, Adam shares his tips to help small firms get everything wrapped up and begin the new year fully prepared and ready to hit the ground running.

  • Make sure your books are up to date, so you know exactly where you stand. What have you made during the year and how much have you spent out? Are there any outstanding invoices you need to chase or any bills you need to get paid? Take a look at your tax situation, especially if you have received any Government grants or loans.
  • Take a close look at your costs and pricing and ensure the figures add up. Are you charging the right prices? Are you paying too much for materials and services? Do you need to make changes, or can you reduce your costs?
  • Go over your business plan to check you are on track and to see if there are any areas you need to focus on, adapt or change. Which products or services have sold well and are there any new ones you could add to give you more of an edge or to increase turnover?
  • Be critical about your digital presence and decide if it needs an update or complete overhaul. Ensure you are making the most of online opportunities via your website and the reach of social media to promote your business.

The Brexit countdown has begun and you need to ensure you are ready, have all the relevant certificates, processes and paperwork in place so you don’t end up not able to trade. Here’s some of the things you might need to get sorted – swiftly. If you import goods from January 1:

  • You must complete an import declaration for goods you bring in or receive into the UK or EU. It’s a bit complex so you may want to make life simpler by getting someone to deal with this for you – such as a freight forwarder, customs agent or broker. They can help you to complete all the formalities and submit the required declarations to HMRCs customs systems.

Or you can do it yourself. You’ll need compatible software – most declarations are submitted electronically through the Customs Handling of Import and Export (CHIEF) system. You have to apply for access to the system and buy software so you can submit declarations. You may also need an EU intermediary or fiscal representative to carry out export and import formalities in the EU.

  • You may also need import licences or certificates and pay an inspection fee for some goods before they are allowed into the UK.
  • You will need an EORI (Operator Registration and Identification) number that starts with GB to move goods between Great Britain and the EU. You can apply for one via
  • You will need to pay VAT and custom duty on all imports. The standard VAT rate is 20%, although some goods and services are charged at a reduced rate of 5% – such as children’s car seats and home energy, or 0% on most food and children’s clothes.

Duty will apply to all goods you import, unless an exception applies such as importing goods from a developing country that pays less or no duty or goods are from a country that has a trade agreement with the UK.

  • If you will be importing regularly setting up a Duty Deferment Account will mean you can pay customs duty, excise duty and import VAT once a month, instead of having to pay on each individual consignment.
If you are exporting from January 1:
  • You will need to check if you need a licence or certificate to export your goods from the UK and if there are any restrictions or special rules in the country you want to export to.
  • As with importing you will need an EORI number and make customs declarations for goods you are exporting from the UK.

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