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Posted by on February 19th, 2022

International ambition makes sense post-COVID, but make sure you are fully prepared to meet the challenges ahead

BY: Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

Albert Einstein’s assertion that “in the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity” is perhaps a crumb of comfort in the harsh COVID-era commercial landscape. Business is suffering through the crisis, but vaccines and better treatments have brought hope that the worst might soon be over. Companies have started looking into the future, at opportunities to build back better, and many organisations are now eyeing international markets as part of their post-COVID plans.


The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the risk on a single national market dependency. Countries have been impacted to varying degrees, based on factors such as population density, mobility, healthcare systems, and the efficiency of government action. Yet, international businesses have been able to keep trading with another country and even to another continent, while operations elsewhere were suspended for extended periods.

Continued benefits of international expansion still grow. Manufacturing and trading products and services across borders creates new markets, opens up economies of scale, and diversifies risk. E-commerce made access to global customers easier than ever, offering what appears to be a world of almost limitless opportunity for expansion driven businesses. Building operations in new jurisdictions is a post-COVID strategy that will make a lot of sense.


Overseas expansion will always be a calculated risk, but it is a risk stacked in favour of companies who are properly prepared. For all its tempting potential, moving into new markets is not a quick fix. It takes investment, planning, time, and on-the-ground expertise. If you do not want to run up against hurdles from the very start, make preparations early and ask advice, for a fresh perspective.


The challenges of simply buying and selling in another country – from unfamiliar tax regimes to the deal-clinching details of foreign business etiquette – are easy to underestimate. Even the localisation of web content or sales materials can be a complex task, and there are many questions that you must have answers to, such as how well your products and services are known, what is required to secure effective distribution, and how sales cycles differ from those you are used to. You need to understand how reliable the communications infrastructure is, including transport links and broadband services.

Most importantly, you must assess, understand, and comply with local laws and commercial regulations. The challenges of local production are still great, and establishing a way forward to acquire, for example, the workforce you need, means local knowledge is paramount.


In all these areas and more, advice from a knowledgeable and trusted third party is invaluable. UHY is a global network of accountancy and consultancy firms operating in over 100 countries with offices in nearly 330 of the world’s major business centres. When you contract the services of a UHY member firm, you not only get all the local knowledge needed, you also get access to the collective knowledge of business specialists around the world. This means whatever your challenges are, our member firms will have solutions.

The UHY network was founded thirty-five years ago to help businesses take advantage of new opportunities all around the globe. Since then, our member firms have been working closely together to make sure clients enjoy long term cross-border success.


Early domestic input to your strategic and operational plans can make a real difference. Market research, identification of target customers, competitors, sales channels, and a thorough opportunity and risk analysis will ensure a sound first approach. Exploiting foreign markets takes time, focus, and investment. We believe nothing should be left to chance.

As your plans progress, our member firms will guide you through the practicalities of business in your chosen market.

They can coordinate with government bodies on your behalf to ensure compliance with the full range of local registration and filing requirements. When your overseas operation is up and running, our offices can help you meet local accounting and auditing requirements, accurately and on time.


The significant complexity of multiple tax regimes can quickly become a barrier to overseas ambitions. Crucially, UHY tax experts will ensure you are paying the tax you need to pay, and never more than that. Issues of transparency, country-by-country reporting, profit repatriation, foreign tax credit systems, or internal trading compliance and transfer pricing should only be handled by specialists with the required local expertise.


In the early stages of setting up international operations, relocating senior staff to the new location creates challenges not just with income tax, but also with interpretation of different labour laws, definitions of citizenship and the rights and responsibilities of residents and non-residents. UHY member firms are well versed in the intricacies of human resource management and a comprehensive range of expatriate and mobility services includes international payroll, personal tax, advice on remuneration and benefits based on local circumstances, and social security implications.

UHY is a global network with a global vision: to become the preferred trusted advisor for our current and future clients all over the world. We are the network for doing business locally, nationally, regionally and internationally. Helping businesses find new revenue streams and customers in another country, or on another continent, is one of the most important roles we play. If you are looking to expand overseas, you can rely on a network with global ambition at its core.