A survey carried out by the Institute found that 73% of those working with the insolvency and business restructuring sectors believe Brexit will be the biggest threat to businesses over the next couple of years.
More than half (56%) of the 146 insolvency practitioners surveyed also cited a rise in interest rates as one of the greatest threats, followed by the attitudes of HMRC and banks as creditors (43%).
The retail sector could be the hardest hit, with 77% of respondents believing it would be the most likely to face increased financial difficulty, driven by the potential interest rate rises and the unknown consequences of Brexit looming.
Bob Pinder, ICAEW regional director, said, “We are in no doubt that businesses in the UK face difficult times ahead. A sharp and unexpected rise in the cost of doing business can make managing liquidity tough.
“We believe that a change in attitudes is critical in order to successfully avoid substantially increased corporate insolvencies – confronting business issues, rather than being ashamed of them.”
Pinder added that businesses should seek early help of restructuring and insolvency practitioners in a bid to restructure finances, business processes or management to salvage their businesses and bring them back into profit.