Running a business in a single country can be challenging enough, but when you expand globally, the complexities and logistical headaches grow. Operating a multinational company can be overwhelming. Here, we talk about four challenges of running a multinational company and how to overcome them.

What makes managing a global enterprise challenging?

There are often language barriers and cultural nuances, as well as issues with time zones. You can’t be everywhere at once, which means you have to put your faith in vendors, and that can present challenges and logistical issues.

But, let’s break down these challenges one by one.


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Lack of global expertise

One of the biggest challenges that multinational companies run into is a lack of expertise around business management and laws in the countries in which they operate. Companies often feel overwhelmed when managing the corporate secretarial requirements of their global portfolios because there are so many differences from country to country.

It can be really difficult to understand those differences and the requirements that are necessary to conduct business in other countries. It’s very easy for a U.S. corporate individual to feel that international entities can and should be handled very similarly to the way that we manage the corporate secretarial requirements for our U.S. entities. But, that’s simply not the case.

Managing the requirements for your global entities is really not as straightforward as appointing a registered agent or filing your reports throughout the year. It’s really important to have an expert or a team of experts in place that can help you understand the complexities of all of these various jurisdiction needs, so that you have peace of mind that all the corporate secretarial needs for your global entities are being handled appropriately.

Logistics

Coordinating multiple projects with multiple vendors around the world can be a struggle and have a significant impact on your time, resources, and ultimately your bottom line. Typically, your global vendors are located in other countries and time zones. Added to that is the challenge of receiving invoices in different currencies that may fluctuate throughout the course of business. Language barriers when communicating with vendors can be another major challenge.

With all of these logistical challenges, you can easily become overburdened by the process, or confused as to what has or has not been completed. An all too common refrain from businesses is, “Well, I think our international vendors are handling our corporate secretarial responsibilities, or at least I hope that they are.” Not having a pulse on what’s going on in your business is a scary proposition, but a very real one when your business operations are stretched too thin over too many countries.

Hidden costs

With a global enterprise, understanding costs is also a critical component that can be very challenging. Operating in different countries often means having to deal in a number of different currencies that can fluctuate in value based on exchange rates and the global marketplace. This can compound challenges such as creating a budget or understanding your current spend for the services that are associated with managing your global entities. If you are currently paying hourly rates for global corporate secretarial services, it can be very tough to match up the governance costs for your specific entities, understanding the difference between fees that are tied to the direct management of entities and those charged for other unrelated services.

It’s not uncommon for companies to receive surprise invoices from their vendors for standard or routine filings and services for their global entities. No one wants to receive these unexpected fees above and beyond what was originally agreed upon.

Data management

Lastly, companies may struggle with developing a global data management strategy. It’s really important to have a system in place that’s going to meet all your needs and allow you to centrally see and manage all of the data and documents for each of your entities around the globe. It’s even more important that you’re able to feel confident in the entity management system and to know that the system is reliable and up-to-date.

Oftentimes, it can be very challenging to achieve that peace of mind with your source of data. Excel spreadsheets and network share drives may help to ease your burden a little, but they’re still very manual and can easily become outdated or incorrect when there are other pressing responsibilities that also need your attention.

Companies are often heavily dependent upon their vendors to provide them with information or documents as a prerequisite to getting their manual systems updated appropriately. This presents a challenge, because if that communication isn’t received from your partners globally, the process is going to break down despite your organization’s best efforts to keep that system functioning, and to keep your central source of truth accurate and up-to-date.

Solution: find a global subsidiary management partner

With CSC’s global subsidiary management solution, the challenges of expertise, logistics, budgeting, and data management are overcome. CSC’s GSM solution both simplifies and centralizes international corporate secretarial governance. It’s about taking all of the workflows you currently use across the globe and replacing them with a single point of contact, working in your time zone, speaking your language, supported by a team of experts around the world.

Learn more about our global subsidiary management solution here.

Want to learn more about global subsidiary management? Sign up for our upcoming webinar “Staying Compliant Through the Business Life Cycle: Essential Guide to Entity Compliance and Licensing” on November 14, at 11am and 2pm (ET). See all of our upcoming webinars here.

4 Challenges of Managing a Multinational Entity Portfolio