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How to Manage the International Expansion of Your Accounting Business


Accounting firms are essential businesses, that enjoy high levels of success with thanks to their near-universal demand. Businesses in all industries rely on quality accounting to maintain compliance and stability – something that is true on a global scale, too. If your business is thriving, you might be thinking about expanding – but what does opening the doors to a new international territory mean for you?

Planning

It should go without saying that planning is a vital part of expanding. Without a comprehensive approach to figuring out the various steps involved in your expansion, your expansion will surely fail. Planning encompasses a wide range of individual and specific considerations, and accounts for your existing staff capacity in charting a realistic course to your end-goal – with an achievable timeline in mind.

Your planning should not be rushed. Time should be taken to look at the expansion from every angle, and to iterate timelines that incorporate lead time for seeking funding, or gaining clarity on certain markets and regulations.

Compliance

Speaking of which, compliance is arguably the biggest hurdle you will encounter during your expansion process. Not only are there new laws to comply with in the countries to which you are expanding, but also international laws to abide by as well.

The chief way in which you will initially engage with new laws and regulations is through staffing. A spearhead team will need to be relocated to your new region, in order to facilitate the set-up of your new branch and the winning of new customers directly. For this, you will need to understand the immigration laws relating to relocating employees abroad. You will also need to engage with local employment law in hiring local talent in your new location or territory.

Acquisitions and Mergers

Expanding into a new territory can be expensive business in multiple ways. Not only are there logistical costs, but also the costs associated with finding new regional audiences and converting them into clients. Taking the merger or acquisition route can eliminate a lot of these costs, allowing you to benefit from pre-existing infrastructure and customer lists to profit together. Of course, there are legal considerations that remain important to make in considering an international merger.

Finances

As an accounting firm, you will be no stranger to the financial side of the equation. A cost-benefit analysis will have been a key part of the planning stages for your expansion. No attempt to expand would be made without an assurance that not only would the expansion improve business, but also that the money existed to fund said expansion.

Still, there are other angles to managing the financial aspect – not in the least of which is the legal angle. Again, differing laws between different nations and jurisdictions can spell difficulty for expanding businesses; you need to be sure that any money you move from one country’s banking system to another’s is correctly handled with tax laws in mind.

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