At Milsted Langdon we recognised some years ago that even some of our smaller clients periodically found themselves in need of advice from accountants in other jurisdictions. In order to help them access this overseas support, we joined the MGI International Network and over the course of the subsequent years we have seen an ever greater number of occasions each year in which we call on member firms in other countries to help our clients who are increasingly looking to expand their businesses beyond our shores.
This year MGI in the UK undertook a survey of owner-managed businesses in conjunction with Cranfield University School of Management. The results have yet to be moderated or published but a preliminary review of the raw data suggests that the majority of respondents already sell or buy services internationally and a significant further proportion were actively planning to do so.
Prominent amongst the concerns aired by those who were considering their first international ventures were:
- The effect of ‘red tape’/too much regulation
- Worries about a perceived lack of in-house expertise
- Perceived concerns about language barriers
- Burdens likely to be placed on senior management
- Complications to financial management
Happily, the survey indicated that small and medium-sized businesses found that accountants were the advisers who were most often able to help them with international trade issues. Interestingly however, international tax planning featured very low on most clients’ lists of key drivers for overseas activity; the main motivation for which tended to be a desire to find new markets.
MGI now boasts over 300 offices in over 80 countries and Milsted Langdon’s role within it has become more prominent following the appointment last month of one of our partners, Roger Isaacs, to MGI’s executive board.
“I am privileged to have been asked to undertake this new role”, said Mr Isaacs, adding: “It will give me an opportunity to get to know better an ever increasing number of MGI member firms so that when we refer our clients to them, we can do so with the confidence that they will be well looked after.”