Practical planning for a confident Brexit strategy

Bank of Ireland’s ‘Get to grips with Brexit’ series launched in Dublin with an event in College Green that provided attendees with actionable preparation steps

Pictured left to right: Vincent Boland; Pierce Butler, Bank of Ireland; Barbara McGrath, Brightwater Recruitment;Michael Herity, Network International Cargo Group; Donna Hemphill, Deloitte; David Carson, Deloitte;Gavin Kelly, Bank of Ireland; Jennifer Howett, Bank of Ireland and Colman Scott, National Food Imports

As the clock ticks ever closer to the October 31 deadline for Britain’s departure from the EU, businesspeople came out in force to attend the first Bank of Ireland ‘Get to grips with Brexit’ event last Tuesday, with a tailored panel of industry experts.

The breakfast briefing took place in the House of Lords on College Green and was the first in a series of nationwide events hosted by Bank of Ireland to share information and practical guidance to help minimise disruption to small- and medium-sized businesses, particularly around the supply chain and logistic challenges that may emerge.

Speaking at the event, Gavin Kelly, chief executive of Retail Ireland, Bank of Ireland, said, “Nobody can be definitive on Brexit, but as a bank we remain confident despite the uncertainty. We have an all-weather Brexit strategy which means we can cope, whatever the outcome. That confidence is underpinned by the fact that we are a strong, well-capitalised and well-funded bank, and have comprehensive Brexit-readiness plans in place for all our businesses.”

Acknowledging the fact that many of the bank’s customers have previously weathered extreme downturns during the financial crisis, Kelly encouraged the business people present to use the advice and learnings to stimulate “no-regret-action thinking”.

Before welcoming the invited speakers to the stage, he concluded, “As a bank we are committed to being supportive of the economies that we operate in. There is no winner from Brexit; not Ireland, not the United Kingdom, not the EU. Our focus is on supporting our customers in a range of ways to help them negotiate the challenges of Brexit.”

Expert insight

Pierce Butler, head of Business Banking, Bank of Ireland, hosted the event and led the discussions, noting how at Bank of Ireland he sees the key impact areas for many SMEs and enterprises focused around the themes of Brexit’s implications, from changes to tariffs and supply chain, Britain’s market strategies, revenue guarantees and new documentary requirements for businesses trading with Britain, cash flow, contracts, data management and more.

Expert speakers, sharing insights and best-practice approaches to Brexit preparations, included Vincent Boland from The Sunday Business Post, who set the scene with some current context on the Brexit machinations, his perspective on the key players involved and some predictions as to how the process may play out.

Leading Deloitte advisors to the SME market David Carson, corporate finance partner and leader of Deloitte’s Brexit Hub, and Donna Hemphill, senior tax manager providing customs and excise advisory services, were on hand to drill down to the specifics. The audience was given a comprehensive overview of how to prepare and mitigate the impact of Brexit across key areas: supply chain; people; financial environment; regulatory, legal and data; and market access and trade.

The Deloitte team also walked the audience through the step-by-step of declarations on imports and exports and reviewed the key questions around supply chain management and customs clearance.

Real-life learnings

A panel discussion featured business people sharing their stories, the particular challenges they face and their real-life approaches to preparations. The panellists came from a cross-section of industries. Michael Herity, finance director, Network International Cargo Group,

brought both deep financial expertise and a specific experience of the supply chain and logistics industry; Barbara McGrath, managing director of Brightwater Recruitment, brought an understanding of the particular challenges faced by SMEs when it comes to talent acquisition, and Colman Scott, director, National Food Imports, specialist suppliers of ingredients to the bakery and food manufacturing industries, had particular insight on the agri-food industry to share with the audience.

Next steps

The event concluded with time for questions to the experts and one-on-one discussions with Bank of Ireland advisers to discuss how Bank of Ireland’s all-weather Brexit strategy is designed to cope whatever the outcome. As the exit of one of our closest trading partners will impact heavily on all businesses in Ireland, regardless of size or sector, the importance of planning and preparing for change was the main discussion point. A further seven events are happening over the next fortnight around the country, which will help ensure every business has ticked off its Brexit checklist.

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The ‘Get to grips with Brexit’ series

Bank of Ireland is hosting a series of ‘Get to grips with Brexit’ events across the country, for small- and medium-sized businesses. The series brings together industry experts to demonstrate the practical steps to take to help minimise disruption to your business.

The sessions cover Brexit implications from changes to tariffs and supply chain to revenue guarantees and new documentary requirements for businesses trading with Britain.

Register now to secure your place on one of the remaining sessions:

The ‘Get to grips with Brexit’ Series will be visiting:

• October 10 - Limerick Limerick Strand Hotel, Ennis Road, Limerick

• October 11 – Kilkenny Newpark Hotel, Castlecomer Road, Newpark Lower, Kilkenny

• October 11 – Cork Clayton Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork

• October 15 – Wexford Newbay House Hotel. Wexford

• October 16 – Dublin Red Cow Moran Hotel, Dublin

• October 16 – Galway The Claregalway Hotel, Claregalway, Co Galway

• October 18 – Donegal Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town

All events are free. Register online at Bank of Ireland’s Brexit