DATE: Thu 14 Dec 2017
BY: Stephen Aldridge
Tim Martin, Wetherspoon’s chairman (and vocal advocate of Brexit) says he’s ready for Brexit and isn’t worried about a ‘no-deal’ cliff edge, claiming that WTO rules will mean a reduction in the cost of food. Whether you agree with him or not, he has apparently done his homework leading him to his claim that Wetherspoon is ready to leave the EU.
Which brings me to my question – how ready are you for Brexit? The media could lead us to believe there is a state of paralysis caused by uncertainty about the outcome of Brexit negotiations. Whilst we don’t know what those outcomes will be, that doesn’t absolve boards of their responsibility for planning for various contingencies.
You might argue that it is impossible to plan or that there is no point in planning, since we don’t know the outcome of negotiations. According to the marines, “no plan survives contact with the enemy”, so if we know things don’t go according to plan, what is the value in planning? Well, one of the key benefits of a well-constructed plan is to enable us to manage the risk inherent in the uncertainty we face. Our best strategy in uncertain times is to evaluate the impact on our business of events that could take place and consider our response to each of these eventualities. We should also consider the inter-relationships between factors; and to what extent one ‘down-side’ impact is mitigated by any related ‘up-side’ impacts.
We need a means of processing these individual impacts to assess the overall effect on our business. This is where a well-planned and constructed financial model can provide insight. However the best constructed financial model can suffer from garbage in- garbage out. So before you build a financial model, there is work to be done in considering the impacts of Brexit on your particular business. This is not a one size fits all solution; each business has its own unique set of drivers which will depend on many factors. We have given some thought to this and produced a road map to Brexit planning, covering some of the key areas to focus on. There is some desk based research to do and we would advise holding some ‘workshops’ (facilitated discussions with key stakeholders) to decide which factors you need to focus on. Only then can you articulate the objectives of a financial model that can pull your data and assumptions together to provide meaningful insight.
Download our Guide “Planning for a confident Brexit” to:
Stephen is a Chartered Management Accountant and has over ten years of financial modelling experience both at KPMG and Deloitte. His early career included engineering, sales and corporate management roles. In 2004, Stephen joined Numeritas as a co-owner and a Managing Director.
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