The decision to leave the EU could cost accountancy firms between 3% and 5% of turnover in the next five years, depending on which trading deal the UK signs although they are effectively predominantly operating in the UK, according to forecasts by IRN Research.
While the UK market is very self-contained – firms export only around 10% of their services and only 3% of the domestic market is supplied by imported services – the consultancy says the overall impact of Brexit on the sector will be negative.
The scale of the hit will vary according to what kind of trade deal the UK arranges with the EU in the future. The biggest consumers of accountancy services in the UK are financial and professional services firms, who will be affected by leaving the EU.
IRN Research analysis suggests that by 2021 Brexit could cost firms 3% of turnover if the UK opts for an European Economic Area (EEA) style arrangement, rising to 5% if the option is a World Trade Organisation style deal.
It argues the main negative impact of Brexit will be felt between 2016 and 2018, because businesses will be in the dark about the future trade relationship. Thereafter, the uncertainty declines and the impact of trade arrangements take over.