For CRUSH AUSTIN 2017, Avalara’s national tax compliance conference on May 2–3 in Austin, Texas, we sat down with one of the conference speakers, Richard Asquith, vice president of global indirect tax. He discusses more about his session, the challenges of Brexit and its impact in America and Europe, and what he is most looking forward to at this year’s conference.

How do you feel technology helps speed sales tax compliance and reporting?

Selling around Europe is already a challenge, with the complexity of 28 European Union (EU) member countries not yet fully harmonized. The looming Brexit event may add even more complexity to the equation. Automation technology has really matured to the point that it can help businesses successfully manage this additional complexity and ensure they remain single-minded about their core businesses.

The title for your session at CRUSH is “All You Ever Wanted to Know About Brexit but Were Afraid to Ask.” What are the key concepts you hope attendees take home?

The session will cover the political and business issues and risks surrounding the planned exit of the United Kingdom from the EU. What will it mean for companies with a stake in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe? How will tax and customs regulations change, and how can businesses start to prepare? These are questions we will dive into in the session.

Accounting professionals and business owners are attending CRUSH; why would they need to know more about Brexit to better serve their customers or get their job done?

For anyone trading into, or from, the United Kingdom — especially North American businesses that base their EU operations from the United Kingdom — it’s vital to understand the potential outcomes of Brexit. Whatever final deal is negotiated for the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, it will have a dramatic effect on doing business in the country and around Europe.

Why do you feel businesses ignore, or are unaware of, Brexit, and what potential ramifications do the businesses face?

The main challenge of Brexit, to date, is the uncertainty of the future arrangements between the United Kingdom and Europe. This makes planning for the changes tough, and it’s all too tempting to ignore the problem. The risks are future cash flow, the fact that the smooth running of the movement of goods or services will change, and that businesses may have missed out on the opportunity to mitigate any risks well in advance.

What are you looking forward to most at CRUSH 2017?

Meeting lots of people and businesses that want to succeed globally. I think Avalara is at its best when it acts as a sentinel for enterprise — assisting companies that are looking to invest and grow internationally. We help them understand the foreign VAT or GST risks, and we deploy our technology to ensure they can stay focused on what they are great at: growing their businesses.

Join Richard Asquith for his session, “All You Ever Wanted to Know About Brexit but Were Afraid to Ask,” on May 2. For more information on CRUSH AUSTIN 2017, visit our website that includes all conference sessions, speaker bios, and location information.