Did you know that in Southern Europe, VAT has to be withheld and paid towards invoices from freelancers? And did you know that the financial year runs from April to March in Japan? And that the German Finanzamt requires data from your administration to be submitted in a specific format? These might not be the most appealing aspects of international business, but you will encounter them if you have offices abroad. How do you link the administrations of your international offices with one another? We give you five tips to make your life easier.
Tip 1: Just do it!
For the doubters out there: the only way to avoid sleepless nights about the status of your foreign offices is to standardise information flows and processes to achieve a central overview. Not ad hoc, but in a thorough, scalable way which meets your specific needs. This will provide you with access to up-to-date and correct information about your foreign offices, without you having to familiarise yourself with local accounting customs and tax legislation in those countries.
Tip 2: Don’t accept workarounds
If you open or acquire your first foreign office, you might be tempted to integrate your bookkeeping via a workaround, using an Excel integration for instance. As soon as you experience further growth, and link a second, third and fourth office, you’ll get lost in conflicting systems of legislation, reporting and processes. That’s why it’s good to go for a central approach, which provides an integrated solution for all your foreign factories or sales offices, letting you keep a firm grip on what happens abroad.
Tip 3: Order pizza more often
Streamlining the administration in multiple countries is a complex process with many issues. That’s why it’s important to start with a blueprint of your business and the functionalities you require. Your provider should assist you with this. Consider the blueprint to be a pizza base; the local requirements and wishes that you put on it will give it it's flavour, but there’s no pizza without a base.
Tip 4: ‘During office hours’ is a thing of the past
Linking administrations means changing trusted processes, so support is crucial. Not only from 9-5 at head office. ‘During office hours’ is a thing of the past in international organisations. This is even more true for your foreign locations; in the local language, with knowledge of local customs and during local working hours, there should be a short line of communication to the central project organisation.
Tip 5: Find yourself a new hobby
Standardised processes. Reports at the click of a mouse. Realtime insight into what’s happening at foreign locations. Automatic compliance with local financial laws and regulations. Linking the administrations of your foreign locations will save you so much time and is so convenient, you might want to think about how to spend that extra time - what about a sailing trip to all your locations?