NI businesses should be prepared for most disruptive form of Brexit: CMIA

peye-191016kb1-0013NI businesses should plan for the worst-case scenario of the most disruptive form of Brexit,” This was the message from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Global President and a former partner of PwC London, Andrew Miskin, who was in Belfast today to address over 120 business leaders and senior finance professionals at the CIMA Leaders Forum ‘Future of Finance in a post-Brexit world.’

Miskin added, “Unless businesses were prepared to spend a lot of money up front they would have mitigated their risk. Management Accountants with their forward looking strategic analytic skills are fleet of foot in terms of decision making and this will be critical during the times ahead.”

Guests also heard from the economic commentator and broadcaster Paul Gosling who predicted that issues of eurozone economic fragility, EU political tensions, the China property bubble, the outcome of the US presidential election and the impact of the automation of jobs could all be more economically significant globally than Brexit.  “Until we know the shape of Brexit, it is difficult to estimate its potential impact. But we can expect continued currency volatility and not necessarily a sterling weakness at existing rates of exchange.  I expect ongoing exchange rate uncertainty and volatility. I do not have confidence in the resilience of the eurozone economy and I do not believe its underlying problems have been resolved.” He also warned that NI’s agri-food and low value manufacturing sectors could be the two most adversely impacted.

On the impact of Brexit on ‘NI plc’ Dr Esmond Birnie, Senior Economist at Ulster University Economic Policy Centre who was also speaking at the event said, “so far so good but it is early days yet.”

“There are indications of a slowdown in NI growth rates and a lag relative to those in the rest of the UK but both these trends pre-date the June ‘16 vote. Notwithstanding a number of areas of strength, the NI economy has, for decades laboured with a problem of a lack of competitiveness relative to much of GB and many other parts of the world. That problem continues to exist.”

Senior Economist and Market Analyst with Bank of Ireland UK Alan Bridle also gave an overview of the rapidly changing regional finance landscape and highlighted some areas of consideration for both finance providers and businesses in the emerging environment by saying, “Significant changes in the regional finance market pre-date the EU Referendum and are continuing at a pace. While there is much speculation and uncertainty, in a sense nothing has changed yet and it is business-as-usual.”  Also speaking on the implications of the Brexit vote and the difference it has made to current and future business planning was Cheryl Magookin, UK Financial Controller, Global Business Services at Terex Corporation.

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