It was a great blessing to see nine European countries in a span of two weeks. The grand tour allowed me to experience many beautiful things in that part of the world—its unique flora and fauna, old architecture, and many other sights. My travel mates during the tour were from different countries. I could not even count with my fingers how many nationalities were represented in that 45-seater bus.
That tour bus is like a microcosm of how easy it is now to go global. As I sat in the bus while passing through the streets of Trier, Germany, I realized that businesses—particularly if your clients operate globally—must seriously consider offering their services or products to the global market as well.
Going global is the main focus of a conference I attended in Brussels, the primary reason I was in Europe. As someone who serves clients that have a presence in other parts of the globe, I recognize the importance of being able to serve them wherever they are. Growth for our customers is sometimes found through building an international presence. Thus, we should be willing to go and grow with our clients. As part of the Grant Thornton network with presence all over the world, collaboration and learning from one another in this competitive landscape will help propel us forward in the global market.
Technology is making the world smaller. Doing business globally is now a must, as one of the invited speakers during the conference emphasized. Technology is helping break down the barriers to doing business outside your home country. Thus, the prospect of being left behind, of waking up one day and realizing your business is no longer relevant, is now one of the worst fears of business owners. This prospect could either happen because international players are creeping into your domestic market or your local competitors have found a way to expand outside your home country. Without a global presence, even the client who is loyal to you will look for another partner who has the global capability.
Francois Pons, a global leader in business process solutions within the Grant Thornton network, emphasized the urgency of working together to achieve our desired growth. Reinvigorating and connecting the global outsourcing community is one way to jumpstart this process. In the Asia Pacific region, for example, we thought of connecting through cross-collaboration and teamwork among member firms. Cross-collaboration allows us to see the multi-geography opportunities surrounding us. It also prevents us from falling into the trap of having a homogenous approach to serving customers in different locations.
Being present in multiple countries is one thing; making sure that such presence drives growth is another. A global presence with a focus on service offerings can be a sound approach. Not all entities that have tried to go global succeed in their ventures. Hurdles such as difficulty in navigating the government landscape,
unfamiliarity with customer preferences, and failing to establish trust with customers and suppliers are some of the common reasons international expansion fails. Being aware of these pitfalls may allow a company to plan how it will execute its global strategy.
Grant Thornton has dynamic clients with a vision to grow globally, and we have no choice but to go where they go. We must invest in winning major accounts and projects as a global network. We should start somewhere. Piloting a client across our region could be a good starting point. Doing this may require certain investments, like any other business decision.
It is riskier, however, not to invest now and see your business being overtaken by competitors who bravely invest in going global. Everyone at the conference agreed that each member firm has its own capabilities. If these capabilities are put together in strengthening our presence in the market, we will most likely achieve our desired growth.
Today, we have no choice but to look forward to having a global presence, serving global clients. As technology progresses, our world gets smaller, and our only choice is to go global.
Paz Malubay is a partner at P&A Grant Thornton. She is also the EVP and managing director for Payroll of P&A Grant Thornton Outsourcing, Inc. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading audit, tax, advisory and outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 21 partners and more than 850 staff members. For your comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or PAGrantThornton.email@example.com. For more information about P&A Grant Thornton, visit our website www.grantthornton.com.ph.