Taking Your Business Overseas? Pack Your Passport, and Cloud Financials

Expanding your business to new markets is exciting on many levels. But once the thrill of new potential and new cultures wears off, you are left with a very important, utilitarian problem—how will we keep track of profit and loss in this new office, in this new currency, with this new set of tax and regulatory requirements? In the past, the solution was typically to extend a complex corporate ERP system to the satellite office, or adopt a regional accounting package and go through the cumbersome process of converting and manually integrating results with the head office. Today, however, sophisticated international cloud ERP is making both approaches obsolete.

Turning to the cloud minimizes deployment time, which can make a vital difference in contested new markets where a first-mover advantage is key to success. Cloud ERP also eliminates worries about scalability—many new regional offices will start small with the potential for growth, which in the client/server model means deciding between a large, up-front investment in "too much" hardware, or running the risk of ripping-and-replacing systems before their costs can be fully depreciated. Both are costly and unnecessary when solutions like NetSuite enable you to simply add more users as the market matures and strengthens.

Even companies who feel comfortable running their own "big iron" ERP domestically are making the strategic decision not to extend their legacy systems to new markets, but instead rely on NetSuite for their expansion needs. The reason is simple: emerging markets can pose infrastructure challenges not found at home. It is easy to forget that not every nation in the world has a deep reserve of skilled IT professionals. Building and maintaining a server farm or VPN overseas becomes even more complicated if you cannot even enlist affordable, qualified help when you need it most. In a hot market with high growth potential, such as Brazil, the cost of skilled services can be bid up several times higher than you would expect to pay in the US. In other markets, language and skill barriers will quickly rear their heads and demonstrate how thin the tech labor pool really is.

Implementing NetSuite on day one of operations in a new market forever frees that division from the costly and cumbersome overhead of outdated client/server infrastructure, and enables your team to start doing business faster, without worrying about how it will be rolled up at the end of the quarter. That's a travel tip every enterprise should know.

K. David Fite - Vice President Global Enterprise Accounts

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