Expanding your business across international borders is exciting for the firm as a whole, but often incredibly complicated for the finance department – and can be a trial for CFOs. Whether you’re a large multinational or a global fund manager, the CFO can have a transformational impact on their organisation but, only when administrative and manual burdens that come with day-to-day operations are removed from their task list.
You’ve successfully grown beyond your home country and the business is going well, but your finance team is having growing pains. Your CFO’s workload has grown exponentially and technically; transfer pricing, multiple complicated tax regimes, international payroll, multi-currency accounting, complex regulatory and compliance requirements, FX and conversions, and multi-region consolidation are all now under their purview.
Your CFO needs to be able to not only manage their team and the finance function, but also properly analyse the data and provide useful information for stakeholders so the business can continue to grow. And it’s equally as difficult for fund CFOs monitoring multiple cross-border investments under multiple SPVs, where each is its own entity.
In this context, a third-party could be a source of added value to your daily operations. Working with a trusted third-party provider allows them to act as an extension of your internal finance team, doing all the manual and repetitive tasks that keep your company ticking without your CFO or finance team having to spend their valuable time on it.
Rima Yousfan, COO at Auxadi, reveals the top five functions your outsourced partner can take on to ensure you’re focused on the value-add activity that will grow your business and make your life easier when doing so.
1. Accounting and reporting
The accounting and reporting functions are essential tasks for CFOs to manage. It not only requires understanding of each country’s reporting standards, it also requires time and energy for classification of charges and suppliers, meeting all your fixed and structured reporting periods and deadlines, perhaps coinciding with board meetings or regulatory filings. Partnering with a third party can ensure you’re compliant with global and local regulations, to help you navigate complex accounting and reporting standards with ease.
Instead of expanding your internal teams, costing your company recruitment time, training time, salaries and taxes, an outsourced team can be up and running on your account in a short space of time, in some cases as little as 10 days. They can act an extension of your accounting department and produce reports that are coherent and correct, providing the valuable data you need for your stakeholders.
What’s more, as well as the day-to-day accounting, an outsourcing partner can prepare your annual accounts, P&Ls and balance sheets, taking yet another headache away from the CFO. All they have to do is sign off.
More often, CFOs and their finance teams are required to provide more purposeful and efficient data to their stakeholders. Consolidating your accounts is one of the biggest and most time-consuming tasks but it’s essential to provide a transparent and clear view of all data.
Problems arise, though, when you have to convert multiple currencies and allocate costs correctly, matching charges and definitions, and bringing multiple separate accounting books together in one.
An outsourced partner will often have made the investment in the technology you need, so you don’t have to. Work with a third party who can give you access to a single system, providing you the data you need at the click of a button, meeting all your consolidation needs.
2. International tax
Crossing borders brings exposure to new tax regimes, some of which are particularly complicated. There are Double Taxation Treaties to be considered, unique specificities for each state and municipal region within each country, and all regions require constant monitoring for updates and changes.
Bringing in a local tax partner is one option, but you’ll have to have a different partner in every location your business operates – and then manage the complex task of consolidating all their data into useful reporting for stakeholders. This option also means dealing with multiple points of contact, language or cultural differences, and different time zones.
An alternative option is working with an outsourcing partner that operates under a centralised, single-point-of-contact model. A partner can provide dedicated professionals with local knowledge who are best placed to both advise on structures and help you navigate their local tax regimes. They live there, have trained there, and know their regimes inside and out. They can help you understand the intricacies of local tax requirements, and accurately answer any queries you have on their operations.
3. International payroll
Starting overseas operations is an exciting time for everyone in the company, but international expansion comes with multiple complexities. When it comes to managing teams, HR and finance suddenly have to learn new labour laws and tax regimes to make sure your business complies. The last thing your fledgeling overseas operation needs is censure or restriction.
The right outsourced partner can take care of your international payroll, including local registrations, filings, tax considerations, and any necessary governmental reporting – ensuring your staff get paid accurately, on time and in accordance with local legislation. And the right partner will be in the country, on the ground, and able to monitor and advise on any legislative or regulatory changes that will affect your operation.
Finding a single partner who can operate in all the locations you need will relieve the CFO of any potential consolidation issues or administrative burdens.
4. Transfer pricing
The best thing about opening multiple offices is you don’t need the same staff count in each location – back-office functions can be handled by Head Office. But, the local tax authority will start to wonder if your new location submits its returns without charges for accounting, or IT, or HR or the many other things a business needs every day.
You need a transfer pricing system that accurately assesses the value of each service based on the costs per location, and knows exactly what the local authorities in each location require.
You need access to expert knowledge to offer guidance on best practice, valuations, requirements, and exactly what you need to show for substance.
And you need this service to be provided in the locations you operate, so the information is kept up to date and any changes can be acted on quickly. An outsourcing partner can advise on best practice when it comes to setting up your transfer pricing policies, taking the burden, so you can focus on maximising the potential for your business.
When looking to expand internationally, you’ll deal with a multitude of challenges and you might be lacking the right experience and knowledge in-house. Having independent directors can ensure the ongoing governance and oversight of your investments to relieve some of those ever-increasing pressures CFO’s face.
Appointing a local director, based in a certain location, is often a requirement for incorporation and substance. But as well as that, local directors can give expert advice and guidance on expansion into new countries, how businesses run, how local authorities operate and the best local practices to adopt going forward.
An outsourcing partner can provide you with qualified and knowledgeable local directors. Experts who are competent, connected, and trustworthy, with sound local knowledge of their countries’ regulations and legislations, across many different sectors.