Perspectives

Our international network

The world of business is becoming more global day-by-day. But as Belgian companies expand across borders they face new and complicated challenges, especially when it comes to accounting.

Fortunately, there’s a one-stop shop in your own neighbourhood. One with access to a large international network and the expertise required to make it work for you.

“Whenever clients in Belgium have a need for accounting services in another country they can contact BPS,” begins Sven Asselbergh. “Often they are confronted with complex issues. We cannot always promise an ideal answer – it may not exist. But thanks to our international network we can come up with pragmatic and effective solutions.”

What kinds of clients require BPS international services? “Those with subsidiaries in other European countries,” answers Sven, “maybe with headquarters in Belgium and smaller sales offices elsewhere.” He gives an example of the client that had to preparing statutory accounting in 32 countries. “We were able to coordinate the operation and provide services through local offices on several continents, taking into account local legislation.” The project was very complicated. “But that’s the advantage of having a network.”

Payroll support is also an area where BPS can be of great help to cross-border clients. “In Belgium, payroll management is handled by social secretariats, so people tend to take it for granted. But in other countries it’s not so well organised.”

Another international service offered by BPS is application management. “This is the daily management of IT business systems, including maintenance, managing databases, back-up and even operating help lines.” BPS has three European locations that handle such services for well-known global companies.

Accounting across borders

Some clients are looking to relocate accounting functions to lower-cost countries. “We have assisted clients move certain operations to Poland, Portugal and South Africa,” Sven says.

Why are more and more companies seeking the support of an international network for accounting services? “There are three main drivers,” Sven explains. First, he says, larger numbers of companies are working internationally.

Second, they are trying to apply best practices across the whole organisation and in all countries. “They might have had separate accounting operations in each country and now they’re centralising, maybe setting up a shared service centre. They need to have knowledge about it. That’s what we supply.”

Third, local accounting offices can be resistant to change. “Companies involve us in order to get change implemented in their international structure.”

All these moves can help companies realise cost savings, and establish uniform systems and accounting practices throughout the international organisation. Is this where more and more firms are heading? “This trend is definitely increasing,” Sven answers.

“Companies involve us in order to get change implemented in their international structure.”
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