Currently, there are 5.7 million SMEs in the UK - that makes up 99% of all businesses. Brexit is likely to have a huge impact on the way many of these SMEs operate.
With still no clear-cut plan for exiting the EU at the time of writing, and with an increased likelihood of a no-deal-Brexit, the UK could leave the EU without any agreed trade deals.
There is also a lot of uncertainty surrounding supply chain transport plans with nothing solid in place for the foreseeable future. It is highly likely that warehousing and storage facilities will be one of the main industries to be affected the most.
With many companies already stockpiling everything from spare parts and essential components to chemicals, raw materials and food to help prevent any stock shortages, storing goods in anticipation of potential trade barriers and expensive import fees has become a priority for retailers and wholesalers.
And with the greater demand for warehouse storage and connected services such as goods transportation and pallet networks, storing goods close to major transport hubs have become more important.
Taxation changes for UK businesses
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, changes to the taxation regime will most likely impact UK businesses that trade goods. It is expected that the service industry will see fewer changes, but most businesses will see some changes to VAT.
As state aid may no longer apply after Brexit, the government will be able to decide what incentives and tax reliefs to offer businesses. Businesses will no longer be able to access the EU VAT refund system, so there is expected to be long administrative delays for SMEs, which could affect their cash flow.
HMRC have said they are working on creating a separate service to validate UK VAT numbers. Most likely the input VAT deduction rules could be changed for those involved in supplying insurance and financial services.
Changes to VAT and the taxation system will see a lot of companies generating new tax-related paperwork, which will need to be kept safe for up to six years.
EU goods imports
Goods imported from the EU under a no-deal Brexit will be subject to the same rules as non-EU imports are currently. This will most likely see the introduction of postponed accounting for all imports.
What this will probably mean is that all VAT-registered businesses will have to account for import VAT on their return, instead of paying directly at the border.
Again, this system will see a lot of extra generated paperwork needed to be used for business purposes and kept in safe storage for a specific length of time before securely disposing of it.
Extra paperwork and files
As all major companies scurry to prepare for the impact that Brexit may have on their business, it will no doubt generate extra paperwork. No matter what business sector you are in, you will likely need to prepare yourself for the supplementary paperwork needed and the extra admin involved in generating the right paperwork.
It is anticipated that companies that trade in Europe can be expected to make changes to their labelling and conduct a major overhaul to their technical files, which will need to reflect UK rules rather than EU rules, post-Brexit.
It's a well-known fact that the government has been stockpiling food and medicines since the results of the Brexit vote were confirmed in anticipation of leaving the EU without a deal. This is due to the expected delays at the ports that a no-deal Brexit would deliver.
Many UK manufacturing companies activated their own no-deal contingency plans that saw them stockpile raw materials necessary for their business. In fact, stockpiling is at its highest level for a G7 country since 2007.
The extra paperwork that is already being generated in anticipation of Brexit has seen a swift uptake in our Secure Records Storage services as more UK SMEs are busy reviewing their supply chains to work out if their suppliers will encounter issues with shipping raw materials should there be delays at the border.
Keeping business records secure
HMRC requires UK businesses to keep their records for a specific length of time for auditing and business transparency purposes. Your business can receive severe penalties should you fail to produce your business and accounting records when requested by HMRC.
In some cases the penalties handed down can amount to several thousand pounds, which can cripple a lot of businesses, forcing them to cease trading and go into liquidation.
With the extra business paperwork generation expected because of Brexit, this now means that most companies conducting business in Europe will not only need to keep their existing archive business paperwork but also any newly generated paperwork needed to comply with post-Brexit rules.
For a lot of businesses, the lack of physical storage space to securely store their business records can be a major issue. This problem is set to be exacerbated with the onset of Brexit and the anticipated set of new business rules and regulations that will come with it.
This is why it makes sense to use Restore Records Management’s Secure Records Storage services for both your old paperwork that you need to keep for up to six years, and also for your new post-Brexit paperwork, which will also need to be kept secure.
Exactly how long you need to keep your business records depends on the type of business you run. If you are an employer you will also have extra liabilities when it comes to the retention of your business documents.
Self-employed business record keeping
If you are self-employed or in an unincorporated business partnership, you will need to keep your business records safely stored away for at least five years before you can securely dispose of them. These records should include all sales documentation, personal income, business expenses, details of all money paid into and withdrawn from the business, as well as VAT and PAYE information.
Should you ever be the subject of an HMRC investigation, they will want to see every detail of these records, so it will pay you to retain as much information as you can, including bank statements, sales receipts, purchase invoices, cheque book stubs, and VAT documentation.
Limited companies record keeping
With limited companies, there is more business paperwork that is needed to be kept secure to comply with HMRC rules. In addition to the business records mentioned above for the self-employed, limited company directors also need to keep hold of other important business documentation including details of business assets, liabilities, loans secured against the company’s assets, and shareholder transactions.
As a rule of thumb, limited company records must be securely stored for around six years from the end of each accounting period. But some business-related documentation will need to be kept for 10 years. This is paperwork related to the limited company and includes items such as:
· Company statutory books
· VAT records
· The minutes of board meetings and resolutions
Paperwork storage rules for an employer
If you are an employer you are expected to keep your PAYE records for three years from the end of the tax year to which they relate. Your PAYE paperwork includes items such as notices of tax codes, payments to employees and HMRC, details of employee sickness and leave, any taxable expenses or taxable benefits.
Protecting your sensitive data
Not only is it more convenient for businesses to use secure off-site records storage offered by Restore Records Management, but it can work out more cost-effective for your business. Storing large amounts of paperwork for many years can take up plenty of valuable floor space, which you could be using more productively, especially if you rent your office space by the foot.
You also have a responsibility by law to protect your sensitive business data and keep it out of the hands of data criminals that would use your data to commit business fraud or ID theft.
Many business owners can find it difficult to make their business premises completely secure and it can be a very costly exercise to install expensive CCTV or employ 24/7 security guards. Many businesses are run from rented premises where the landlord may not be willing to pay out to install extra security measures to protect the building.
This is why you should use Restore’s secure records storage for your own peace of mind.
Cutting-edge information security
Restore Records Management has an excellent security track record and works with thousands of small and large UK businesses, corporations, legal organisations, financial institutions, hospitals, care providers, art galleries, museums and educational establishments.
Our highly trained staff are experienced in the Data Protection Act and GDPR, so we know exactly how to take care of your confidential documentation as well as your live files and archive paperwork. No matter what records you need keeping safe and secure, you know your sensitive business information will be in the safest of hands.
All of your secured documentation will be instantly accessible to you whenever you need it, so you don't need to worry about handing over any of your paperwork and fearing that you will never see it again. Every file you trust to us is digitally tracked and you will know exactly where your files are at all times.
We use industry-leading O-Neil's software for our document management processes and our own Dovetail software that we tailor for you to manage your assets in-house giving you secure audit trails and confidential access.
With data protection being such a hot topic for businesses, you can relax knowing that your business will be meeting with your compliance requirements for GDPR as your business records will be kept in purpose-built storage facilities with the latest desiccant technology for humidity control, specialist racking with secure entry systems and all premises are CCTV monitored round the clock.
Secure transportation of your documents
Every step of our service has been carefully thought out and planned for the highest level of security. We use GPS-tracked vehicles driven by carefully vetted drivers and a team of trained security operatives will handle the collection of your documents from your place of business.
At no stage of the movement of your documents from your business premises to our secure storage facilities will they ever be left unsupervised. Each collection and delivery goes from door to door in one uninterrupted journey. Our security vehicles never stop or are left alone at any point of the journey.
Helping you manage the mountain of post-Brexit paperwork
With many UK businesses fearing being buried under a mountain of paperwork, especially under the government's new post-Brexit border plans where we could see up to 12 customs centres built near Britain's ports to carry out border checks on imported goods, and reports that an extra 400 million customs declarations may have to be issued every year under the new system, it can feel reassuring to know that Restore Records Management can help you manage your extra Brexit-related paperwork.
Do not hesitate to contact our team to discuss your Secure Records Storage needs. We can help you prepare for Brexit by keeping your paperwork safe and well organised.