Startups and other early-stage companies may have world-changing ideas, but they often need help with the day-to-day aspects of running a growing business, from incorporating an entity to registering a payroll to fulfilling reporting and other compliance obligations. Many startup founders don’t know the full extent of their obligations, and may not have the time and inclination for getting and staying compliant. Those are just domestic concerns. These days, startups are expanding internationally much earlier in their lifecycles, sometimes from day one. Unfortunately, the challenges of expanding and operating abroad can be quite different domestic considerations. Failing to understand and comply with the laws of target countries can be every bit as damaging to a company’s bottom line and reputation as falling afoul of domestic legislation.
The OECD and IMF have reported recently that global economic momentum has faltered and is likely to remain slow. Inhibiting factors include trade tensions, corporate and government debt, disruptive technologies and more. Corporate leaders are well aware of the trend. As one Harvard Business Review article puts it, “Many C-suite executives are already anticipating recession in the next few years and quietly gearing up for it.”
As a multinational business expands it becomes more complex and difficult to manage. Whether your organization has grown organically and/or through acquisition, just keeping track of your legal entities can become challenging, to say nothing of understanding why they were established and if you still need them. Just as important is understanding and fulfilling your compliance obligations in all your countries of operation. Each entity will have its own set of local corporate filing deadlines, director requirements, bank account considerations and more. Even if you eventually get control over these obligations, one or more of your countries of operation will change an existing regulation or add a new one, leaving you scrambling to comply.
Brexit will have profound effects on businesses exporting from the UK and those with UK-based customers, regardless of where those businesses are located. Affected businesses will face new challenges related to data protection, supply chains, immigration and more. The precise nature of many of these challenges remains uncertain, and the hard truth is that many Brexit-related uncertainties will persist long after the UK leaves the EU.
Whether you’re thinking about international expansion for the first time or are experienced at maintaining operations in multiple countries, there’s a strong chance you’ll benefit from this comprehensive review of cross-border considerations.
The global economy is evolving quickly, and tech and other startups are looking beyond traditional expansion targets like the UK and China. Popular targets now include relatively low cost, talent-rich countries like Israel, Ireland, the Czech Republic and Poland, which recently joined the ranks of FTSE Russell advanced economies, the first country to do so in nearly ten years
Keeping track of your employees’ international business trips is a critical, often overlooked component of operating a multinational organization. The size of your business doesn’t matter: to minimize risk, you need to understand and record where your employees are traveling and for how long. Business trips — also known as short-term expat assignments — pose a particular problem. They are often wrongly dismissed as low- or no-risk, which can prove costly. Many companies, for example, unknowingly trigger a taxable presence in another country by sending an employee on multiple business trips there, which can lead to fines and reputational damage.
In an effort to address concerns about transparency and improve tax governance globally, European Union member states have produced a Code of Conduct for Business Taxation as well as a blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions in relation to harmful tax practices. Appearing on the list has the potential to significantly hurt a country’s reputation and limit its ability to engage in financial transactions with EU member states and beyond.
Many workers, perhaps especially those raised in the U.S., would balk at the idea of taking compulsory medical exams as a condition of work. U.S. employers are not even permitted to ask a job applicant to answer medical questions or take a medical exam before making a job offer. Outside the U.S., however, employers are often required to give their employees medical exams. For example, Japan requires employers to give their workers a medical exam upon employment, and then to require additional exams at least once a year.
The list of countries implementing BEPS-related guidance now tops 125 and is growing. The hard truth is that virtually any business with cross-border activities — including those that engage in cross-border digital commerce — must throw away outmoded notions of creating local taxable presences solely through physical presences and of easily and legally moving profits to low-tax jurisdictions.
Few laws have had greater reach than the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which went into effect last May. Any business that collects the data of EU citizens must comply, and in today’s digital world that includes virtually any multinational organisation, whether or not it has a physical presence in an EU country.
Many multinationals offer stock-related incentives to their employees. These equity rewards give workers a stake in the company and can be an invaluable tool in the quest for maximizing employee retention. Recently, we’ve seen employers in most jurisdictions move towards equity rewards that focus on short-term benefits rather than long-term ones, in part to attract a new generation of talent.