This has been submitted by Greenaway Scott
When Theresa May formally triggered Britain’s exit from the European Union it left many businesses reconsidering their presence on the European stage. Thousands of companies rely on their ability to import or export across Europe, which allows them access to the flourishing international market and enables them to develop their brand’s global presence exponentially. As such, many will currently be reassessing their next move post-Brexit.
May will no undoubtedly look towards the option of expanding and opening a satellite or new office in Europe. Opening a new office can be a daunting prospect, even when it is UK-based, so the idea of launching overseas can be even more so. Currently, as an EU citizen you are entitled to setting up a business in any European country, or a branch of an existing UK firm, which is registered in at least one EU country.
Those considering an international move can seek professional legal advice to make this cross-border transition as smooth as possible. As a leading business advisory firm, specialising in cross-border work, we are well-versed in supporting companies through this transitionary period.
There are several options available to UK businesses looking to set up overseas, these include setting up a European Company, which provides more mobility in the single market, and provides ease when running a business across more than one EU country. Our legal experts will be able to assist you in making this decision and what option is best suited to your business’s needs.
Firstly, before choosing an office location, ensure you set out the requirements of your business. This could then help to pin point which location is best for your business’ needs. With over 50 European countries to select from, each of which has its individual set of registration rules, VAT rates, languages, sales tax, this could help to narrow the field when it comes to setting up and where.
While a lower VAT or tax rate could be attractive for some businesses looking to expand, thorough research on that country’s other business criteria, such as local legislation, is essential to ensure there are no potential long-term complications or drawbacks.
The time setting up may take should also be discussed as this can vary from less than one week to three months depending on the location.
Austria, for example is ranked as 21st across the world in all aspects of doing business, however it could potentially take up to three months to establish an office there.
A 2015 study shows that many European countries have adopted major reforms since May 2011 aimed at streamlining business creation procedures and bringing the overall time needed to obtain licences and permits to a minimum of three months.
The other element which is integral to research is the local market. Research whether there is demand for your services in that area and if there is likely to be significant competition for business. Is there an ample customer base? And are suppliers and shipping requirements convenient? Working out which countries are better suited to these criteria could help to evaluate whether this is the right location and the likelihood of success within that location.
For more information on setting up a business overseas and national contact points visit http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/eu-go/index_en.htm