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The challenges of doing business internationally

There’s a whole world of business opportunity out there: are you ready to explore its potential? Trading with overseas markets is an exciting prospect that could provide an opportunity for growth, but if you are to succeed in international business, it’s important to be prepared for the challenges you’ll face.

Multiple currencies

If you’re buying or selling internationally, the chances are you’ll be working in multiple currencies. This will introduce a level of complexity in your financial dealings that requires careful handling:

  • You’ll need a way to consolidate your international transactions so that you can balance the books easily using different currencies. If you have international subsidiaries, your IT system will need to be able to handle this.

  • You’ll have to be mindful of fluctuations in the exchange rate, which could have a big impact (positive or negative) on your profits.

AccountsIQ’s cloud accounting software has everything you need to start trading internationally. Specialising in multiple currency consolidation and business with multiple subsidiaries, it’ll ensure that the accounting side of your business is taken care of.

Different legislation

Depending on where you’re trading, you may come up against legislation that differs significantly from that of your home country. It’s important to do your homework on issues like copyright, taxation and even the presence of bribery and corruption in your chosen country: your overseas market may be very different to the one at home.

  • Consult a lawyer who specialises in international business law and can advise you on the big issues you need to be aware of.
  • Even if it’s not a legal necessity, strive to meet local standards and kitemarks – it’ll show your audience that quality matters to you.
  • Do your calculations carefully: if you don’t factor in significant taxes, charges or import quotas, your business could take a hit.

A business meeting with a businessman and woman shaking hands

Language and culture

You will act as an ambassador for your brand – so just like an ambassador, you’ll need to understand the language and culture of the country you’re doing business with. A seemingly innocuous faux pas caused by ignorance of local customs could affect your influence and reputation abroad.

  • Pay attention to seemingly small social niceties when meeting locals: there will be different expectations on issues like punctuality, non-verbal communication and forms of address.
  • Employ local staff who can advise you on business strategy and represent your company overseas: they’ll be familiar with how business works in the countries you’re expanding into.
  • Learn the language or employ translators and local staff who know it well.

Local competition

Expanding overseas will mean increasing the number of competitors you’re up against. And if you’re working abroad, native businesses may have a number of advantages over you, such as local production plants and easier access to your shared target demographic.

  • Do your research: work out how you can offer something new and different.
  • Choose the right location. It might be worth avoiding towns where local competitors are thriving.

Check out some of our other business tips on international trading.

Alternatively, contact a member of our team to see how our financial reporting software can help.


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