16th November 2018
At 6CATS, we are constantly striving to stay ahead of the trends and changes across international markets – particularly when it comes to the compliance challenges that many firms are facing. In fact, the outcome of a recent roundtable hosted by RealBusiness and WorldFirst truly resonated with us. Although the panel discussed barriers to international exporting, the key themes were almost identical to our experience of the obstacles many agencies face when attempting to expand abroad.
Panellists emphasised the importance of finding ‘the right commercial partner early on who knew the market.’ One member claimed her international operations wouldn’t have taken off until she found the right supplier, which took a fair amount of searching. At 6CATS we also believe that finding a trusted partner to work alongside your team is absolutely key for agencies wanting to place contractors abroad. However, finding perfect match is easier said than done. There’s a lot to consider before taking the leap of faith and choosing a company to collaborate with. So what should you be looking for?
Firstly, when choosing a partner, how much they plan to involve you in operations is important. Many businesses are tempted to completely outsource their contractor compliance control, but we advise against this. With your agency completely culpable if you fall foul of international regulations, are the potential savings on your payroll worth the risks? While it’s nice to hear your team needn’t get involved once the contract is signed, handing over complete contractor compliance control to an external company without staying in the loop rarely has the right impact. Instead, employing a legitimate business partner who will make sure you are involved and advised every step of the way, safe in the knowledge that all risks are mitigated, will help you sleep a lot easier!
How much do they know?
It is also important that you make sure your partner is as knowledgeable as they claim to be. Identifying how the company will help keep you on the right side of the law is paramount to your overseas success. Make potential partners prove their worth by providing documentation including a compliance assurance statement. For example, 6CATS can indemnify recruitment businesses and end users from any tax compliance liability.
In addition to this, you must make sure suppliers know the compliance laws in your target destination like the back of their hand. This knowledge is easily claimed but the ramifications of not confirming this could be catastrophic. Grilling potential partners on not only their knowledge of target markets but also whether staff are actively trained to ensure they are up-to-date with the compliance legislation in these rapidly changing markets is key. By failing to keep up with international changes, what might have been a watertight solution six months ago may be useless now.
Finally, the core values of your partner are an important consideration. In order to develop an efficient relationship, you’ll need to know that the company’s values align with your own. When this component is right, everything becomes much easier. For instance, a client of ours, JDR Energy, commented on our relationship by saying ‘most of our contractors don’t even realise we are separate companies’ due to the fact 6CATS were ‘completely aligned with our look, sound and feel.’ By making sure the ethos of potential partners is aligned with your own values, you can be confident of a fruitful business relationship.
Placing international contractors can be a huge market for recruitment agencies, with a multitude of opportunities. However, just as the case is for all industries, choosing the right commercial partner to help you succeed in international expansion is vital. The RealBusiness roundtable demonstrates that many firms are struggling when it comes to identifying the right global partnerships. In international contractor compliance this is even more essential, with extremely high risks for not getting it right. But this shouldn’t hold you back – by following the criteria above, it will be far easier to identify which firm will work best with your agency.