14 Oct International support
14 October, 2020
The aim of many businesses is to grow internationally. Their reasons for operating abroad can be very diverse. But a lot needs to be arranged for such a far-reaching expansion. From the location to staffing, and from the required permits to a complete business administration. Moreover, all these matters need to comply with the regulations of that country. To be able to provide businesses with the best possible support, Joanknecht is affiliated with PrimeGlobal, a worldwide association of accountancy and tax consultancy firms.
With over three hundred member firms in eighty different countries, PrimeGlobal is one of the largest associations for independent accounting and tax firms in the world. “Our primary goal at Joanknecht is to provide the best possible service to businesses who operate internationally or have plans to do so,” says Edwin Vogel, audit partner at Joanknecht and world board member at PrimeGlobal. “And in the other direction, too, we help entrepreneurs who are looking to establish themselves in the Netherlands,” adds Mark-Jan van der Weerden, tax partner at Joanknecht. “For example, we can help an American company that wants to set up a distribution centre here.”
Joanknecht also makes structural use of the global network. “Whenever we audit the annual accounts of companies that have foreign branches in the Netherlands, we also need the figures of those branches,” Edwin explains. “Because of the differences in legislation and regulations, as well as language barriers, we can’t always do the auditing ourselves. A PrimeGlobal office can then perform an audit locally and report its findings to us. Then we can include those figures here in the annual accounts.”
The basic principles for accountancy have been laid down internationally. “Despite the fact that we all work according to the same guidelines, there are some major differences in emphasis. These are often culture-specific,” says Edwin. This even applies to neighbouring countries such as Germany and Belgium, where Joanknecht has a lot of dealings. Also tax legislation is different everywhere. Edwin: “Through our close collaboration with other offices, we want to ensure that those differences cause as little inconvenience as possible to clients.” He loves the challenge of translating complicated laws into the day-to-day business operation. Mark-Jan: “It doesn’t matter which country in the world entrepreneurs want to go to, we can support them everywhere through the global partnership network.”
If there isn’t a PrimeGlobal office in a particular country, then an office in a neighbouring country can often point us to a reliable office in that country. Mark-Jan: “This way of working doesn’t only apply to accountants and tax consultants, but also to lawyers and other professionals that businesses may need.” All offices and professionals exchange knowledge in order to be able to help businesses better and faster. “We’re a relatively small firm, but this gives us the flexibility to support large companies that have many international operations,” says Edwin.
Exchanging even more knowledge
However, according to Edwin, the exchange of knowledge within the partnership can still be further developed in the future. “The way we work at the moment often involves looking for an office that can help out with a specific client request. This is an area we can expand further,” he asserts. As a member of PrimeGlobal’s strategy committee, Edwin is now in the process of restructuring the organisation. In this way, he also contributes to the future vision of the global collaboration.
His views are clear in that regard: “It would be very useful if members could exchange more knowledge in a general sense about specific themes, so not just in response to questions from clients. We are already seeing this happening on a small scale regarding VAT issues.” Tax advisers from different offices meet regularly to share knowledge and help each other where possible. “There are also many other interesting topics, such as IT services, where these kinds of talks can lead to very interesting insights. An international partnership is definitely the best way to make sure this kind of knowledge sharing works.”
This article appeared in the magazine ‘Samen maken we toekomst‘, 2020 summer edition, printed in June 2020.