These are the words used by ICAEW Chief Executive Michael Izza in warning ‘about the reality of Brexit on the accountancy profession’, says this recent press release.
Whether your small business is in accountancy, or as a reflection generally on the widespread possible business and economic impacts of Brexit, this is a picture worth noting.
Speaking at the Chartered Accountants’ Hall on Monday 23 October, Michael Izza said: ‘I fear that London’s place as the centre of the global accountancy profession could be at risk – unless the UK Government is able to negotiate a trade agreement with the European Union that goes significantly beyond any existing EU-third country arrangement.’
‘I hope that this agreement maintains the mutual recognition of accountancy qualifications – currently part of the central negotiations on citizens’ rights.’
‘These are not just critical for the longer term economic relationship but specifically with regard to statutory audit rights. And I hope that this agreement also ensures mobility of skills, allowing chartered accountants and other professionals to service clients, share expertise through international networks and to attract talent.’
Let’s keep those doors firmly open. If at all possible.
On the question of the costs of Brexit, Michael Izza says:
‘The more important issue for businesses in the UK is the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU. So I do believe that between now and the December summit, disagreements over the cost of Brexit can be resolved so the negotiators can move on.’
This is important. He is worried about the timeframe:
‘The clock is ticking. As the Prime Minister and the President of the Commission agreed last week, the talks need to be accelerated so Government can give businesses and the professional and business services community’ – so, see, this concerns us all – ‘a degree of certainty about the future trading relationship with the EU and the transition arrangements.’
Michael Izza is clear. ‘This really needs to happen early in 2018 at the very latest.’
And, again, he’s clear why:
‘The longer that negotiations continue to be stalled, the greater the uncertainty that will persist, and the greater likelihood for contingency plans to be implemented.’
And once that’s happened?
‘Once decisions are taken, they are less likely to be reversed.’
Sensitive times for us all.