Compliance Groundhog Day: The Continuing Importance Of Local Knowledge

Profession:TMF Group

Global Head of Corporate Services, Thorold Youngman-Sullivan is speaking at the Going Global conference on 13 May about avoiding the pitfalls of international expansion. Here, he explains why compliance is key when you're moving your business across borders.

Even the most established global companies face hurdles when expanding into a new territory. In fact, TMF Group surveys have found that firms are actually expecting the same challenges to crop up every time; from deciphering local laws and ensuring they're meeting regulations to understanding cultural influences for internal and external stakeholders.

Despite lessons learned, the same roadblocks keep appearing, and they're virtually unavoidable when you consider that no two markets are alike. There is simply no such thing as a 'one size fits all' approach to growing your business internationally.

Critical of course, is complying with the laws and regulations that govern your new venture - as the consequences of any oversights can be dire. In Thailand for example, a foreign-owned company's missed tax return filing deadline resulted in local authorities issuing a warrant for the arrest of the director, even though the company was still technically on its "tax holiday" in the country.

Another case in Bulgaria saw a global company so focussed on chasing market share from the outset that it neglected to devote enough time to compliance and administration. The eventual result was a multimillion-euro penalty for not properly meeting tax requirements.

Developing a solid understanding of cultural practices in new territories can be an involved process, but the insight is essential for smooth operations. Cultural...

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