The Economist, a respected and analytical journal not normally given to hyperbole, recently described Britain as “having a very public nervous breakdown.”

The reason? The continued fierce arguments and great uncertainty over the make and shape of the country’s relationship with the European Union, post-Brexit.

With different opinions being aired by cabinet ministers over transitional arrangements and the UK and EU apparently disagreeing about issues such as the so-called divorce settlement, it still seems possible at the time of writing that Britain could leave the bloc without any kind of interim or free trade agreement in place.

That would leave businesses trading with EU countries – which account for 44 per cent of our exports – facing tariffs of up to 40 per cent on goods entering and leaving the country. These products would also encounter various forms of non-tariff barrier, such as rigorous “country of origin” checks slowing transit down at frontiers. Other consequences could include some industries, such as aviation, suddenly finding themselves unregulated.

In this unstable and uncertain climate, Opal Wave says effective automation of business planning and consolidation processes is more important than ever, in ensuring enterprises are in the best possible shape to weather whatever choppy waters lie ahead.

The SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) system, for example, is today’s most advanced solution of this kind. The application provides powerful, integrated, sophisticated, flexible reporting and consolidation functionality and processes, including across multinational networks.

Strong and scalable enough to handle high demand, with predefined templates speeding reporting and consolidation, the system can improve and automate data checking, collection and control, while eliminating manual input and reducing errors and redundancy. Its central database can unify disparate data silos and help ensure a single version of the truth across an organisation.

Capable of meeting a company’s current and future needs, BPC’s flexibility means it can adapt to changing business needs and be extended easily to new sites as businesses grow.

BPC can therefore enhance the speed, efficiency, relevance, consistency and accuracy of an organisation’s enterprise reporting. It can lead to improved and faster decision making, plus enhanced efficiency and profitability.

Opal Wave sales and marketing director Simon Bell says: “We believe all enterprises trading with EU countries should now review their enterprise performance management capabilities. They should look to bring state-of-the-art automation to processes such as planning, budgeting, forecasting, consolidation and financial reporting, in which we specialise, where they don’t already have this.

“That’s because businesses now need to be able to anticipate and react to changing business conditions even more than has been necessary in recent years and having the most accurate possible real-time information on which to base important decisions about matters such as headcount, capital spending, cashflow, salaries and revenue is key to this.

“With systems such as SAP BPC and particularly the BPC Cloud service, a world-first we launched earlier this year, we’re uniquely well-placed to help businesses address their challenges and reduce costs, while improving decision making to deliver higher revenues and profits, as well as ensuring compliance in their business and financial reporting processes.”