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Companies and their advisors need to up their game as international expansion increases

The expectations and requirements of businesses are changing out of recognition and those who service them need to up their game

Jim Brown, a partner at Blick Rothenberg said, “There is no reason to suggest that some changes and expectations of companies will alter significantly after Brexit, but these requirements need to be managed carefully.”

He added, “Enterprises used to expand on a gradual basis, one or two territories at a time. It is now much more common that companies will expand into six to 12 new territories at once, and this could increase after Brexit.”

“This brings with it a whole host of challenges in trying to find trusted individuals who will travel the world to establish and manage teams, but also practical organisational challenges with regulations and requirements differing country by country.”

Jim continued, “In the UK, there are a host of challenger banks, servicing both individuals and corporates, that can open accounts in a matter of days. However, this is usually more than offset for international groups by increased compliance requirements. We have gone from our clients typically requiring a matter of days to open a bank account to an average of at least four to six weeks. In France, where having a bank account is a requirment to operate an entity and having an entity is a requirement to opening a bank account, the process has often taken up to six months.”

He said, “Many companies which are expanding internally now utilise products, such as cloud based Enterprise Resource Planning software, that allow ease of access and consistency across a group. These solutions overlook the fact that a number of countries still have regulations about the maintenance of accounts and records either on paper or on servers located within the territory.”

“Germany has such a requirement and requires prior approval from the tax authorities to avoid the potential of significant fines.”

Jim added, “Current technologies like online expense claim management allows for a consistent user experience and efficiencies in processing and payment systems, but often does not give consideration to the fact that Europe operates a value added tax system where incorrect recording can prevent the recovery of a significant proportion of the overall cost.”

He said, ‘”Advisers now have to be more than just technical experts. It takes experience of going through such change to identify and understand the potential pitfalls, and the concern is that the shorter timelines companies are facing, whether through external factors such as Brexit or internal pressures to expand quickly, increase the risk of companies finding the process harder than it could be.”

For more information, please contact Jim Brown.

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