One issue continues to dominate the political landscape and business thinking, and David Cameron (remember him?) perhaps summed things up at Davos when he was caught on camera saying Brexit has not turned out as badly as initially feared, although difficulties still lie ahead.
Among MDM’s client base, in industry as well as the worlds of Private Equity and Corporate Finance, business confidence remains fairly high despite all the uncertainty surrounding our exit from the EU.
Deal volumes and Private Equity activity are at near-record levels and Britain remains very much open for business, with foreign funds and PE houses still keen on investing here.
One factor which has made Britain more attractive to investors since the EU referendum has been the fall in sterling’s value (although it has partially recovered over recent months). This has also benefited exporters, as it has made British goods and services cheaper to sell abroad.
On the other hand, imported goods have become dearer, causing cost and inflationary pressures which are not always easy to pass on.
With Brexit in mind, when it comes to planning ahead, and certainly from a financial recruitment standpoint, businesses which import or export, or have operations in Europe will need to ensure their finance teams are as multi-skilled as possible to deal adequately with a more complex trading environment.
Post-Brexit, finance teams will need to understand the trade agreements concerning each individual country they are working with, especially when it comes to areas such as tariffs, VAT and import/export documentation. These matters will inevitably have an impact on the cost of purchases and sales.
Finance teams will need to be robust, able to adapt quickly to considerable change, and be forward-thinking in their approach.
Companies can already see they will need to be flexible, whatever arrangements are in place after Brexit, and are showing an eagerness to recruit candidates with a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude and the right technical skills.
Recruiting the very best candidates with the appropriate knowledge, skills and approach to dealing with change will be key to helping businesses remain competitive.
The candidates in most demand will be those who can see and embrace the opportunities in the face of uncertainty and the inevitable changes to the trading environment.