Managing accounting and tax in your company is a complex task. It is one of the most critical business processes to manage, so there is simply no room for error. For organisations that operate in multiple countries within the region, regulations and compliance requirements can be even more involved.
According to Deloitte’s 2021 Asia Pacific Tax Complexity Survey, 80% of respondents believe tax regimes in the region have become more complex over the last three years.
For many tax and accounting executives, finding an international tax advisor in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong or China, who can handle all your accounts at a local level is ideal. But this doesn’t happen for most organisations. At least, not from the start.
Instead, as companies grow organically, they might add offices across the Asia-Pacific region, each with different tax specialists to deal with their country’s specific needs. Perhaps this seems like a smart idea – after all, these specialists will have a deep understanding of the local tax regulations. But managing multiple specialists can quickly raise its own set of problems.
This is why many tax leaders in multinational firms find themselves grappling with:
- Communication siloes: getting multiple tax specialists to coordinate their operations can be challenging, especially with language and cultural differences at play.
- Staff turnover: the great resignation is upon us, which means as more employees are leaving, there are more people to train.
- Technology challenges: each country has its own system and method of communication, which may not feed into each other.
If you are facing similar challenges, it might be a good time to think about consolidating your tax operations with an international tax advisor in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong or China. This advisor can then help coordinate your tax efforts across the region while having one single point of contact, regardless of your base location.
Here is what you need to know about why to consolidate your taxes with one company, and how to choose the right provider for your business.
Do not underestimate the power of local expertise
The tax landscape in Asia-Pacific is constantly changing, with governments regularly introducing new regulations and laws.
This means partnering with a trusted tax advisor to help you navigate the complexities of local tax regulations is crucial for successful operations. Singapore itself has many complicated tax regulations, such as Goods and Services Tax (GST), which need expert local knowledge to understand. Also having a partner that can help you with certified tax planning, financial accounting, and compliance services will help during reporting season, allowing you to maximise tax incentives and benefits.
Choosing a global provider with local offices will give you a premium service at a regional level.
A reliable tax advisory service can also help you drive long-term success in your business by maximising your tax incentives and benefits. Without expert local knowledge, it can be easy to miss out on tax breaks and exemptions that your business is entitled to.
If you’re purely a Singapore-based business, managing all this in-house may be achievable. But multinational organisations need to deal with cross-border issues and any complexities regarding tax compliance that may arise. This can quickly become unmanageable if you don’t have the right partner to help you navigate through it.
So choosing an international tax advisor in Singapore who has connections in other countries, can significantly streamline this process and ensure the business continues to operate safely across the region.
One contact, or many?
When selecting a tax partner, check whether you’ll have a single point of contact or deal with different individuals in each country. If the latter is true, you may be no better off than you would with managing your teams.
Ideally, you want access to a connected ecosystem of tax advisors while only dealing with a single point of contact. That way, you get all the benefits of local tax expertise without the headaches that come with managing in-house teams.
Another important factor to consider when managing tax in multiple countries is dealing with cultural nuances. The Asia-Pacific region is home to a diverse mix of cultures, religions, languages and customs.
Having people who understand, and can sensitively navigate, cultural complexities is an important part of doing business and maintaining a well-functioning team.
A dedicated international tax advisor in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong or China, can help you to navigate all of these issues, and advise you on the best approach for each country in which you operate.
Tax compliance matters more than ever
As regulations tighten, tax activities are attracting more and more attention from authorities. No executive wants their company to be the subject of a tax compliance audit. At the same time, however, finance and accounting teams are under pressure to do more with less, as budgets and teams are scaled back.
Organisations are also dealing with a workforce in transition. Many employees are seeking a ‘next role’ that offers higher pay or better working conditions – reducing available resources and stretching teams beyond capacity.
Nevertheless, businesses cannot ignore compliance requirements. Singapore has some very strict tax laws, it’s critical that your company does everything it can to follow them by paying taxes correctly and on time. Any business that does not follow tax compliance is doing so at the risk of breaking the law.
Even something as small as overlooking a detail in tax law or inaccurately calculating taxes owed can result in non-compliance.
And maintaining compliance with changing tax laws can be particularly challenging for multinational organisations with business partners all over the world.
Having a team of professionals that understands not only the tax laws in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China but also those across the entire Asia-Pacific region, can free your business to focus on its core business. The team can help you to navigate the changing tax laws across the region, and assist you in adjusting your tax reporting processes accordingly.
And of course, if tax compliance issues arise, the team can deal with them swiftly and accurately.
But most importantly, having a trusted team to manage tax compliance services can ensure in-depth analysis of your business structure, before providing industry-leading advice on the best long-term tax solutions. After all, it takes skilled knowledge to structure your business divisions to understand and be able to take advantage of tax benefits.
Seek value with service
One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing your tax function is cost savings. ‘Time is money’, and increased efficiency can substantially improve your bottom line.
However, simply going with the cheapest option may be a false economy. When looking for a business tax advisory service, carefully consider their reputation in the market.
Here are some questions to ask:
- How long have they been operating?
- What is their client footprint?
- How many staff do they have? And more importantly, how well do they retain their employees in the long term?
- How solid is their track record? Do they have measurable results they can share?
- How big is their regional and international footprint? Can they support your growing business?
To find an international tax advisor who satisfactorily answers all these questions, you will likely need to choose a premium provider.
The good news? Partnering with an established business tax advisory service gives you complete peace of mind that they will handle your tax matters efficiently, accurately and professionally.
Choosing a premium provider such as BoardRoom also means:
- Low error rates: we have over 50 years of experience in the Asia-Pacific region and a proven track record of performance.
- Fast service: we maintain high staff retention rates, so we always have the right amount of people to efficiently handle our clients’ needs.
- Skilled staff: our staff are highly trained and keep up to date with changes in local regulations.
Think beyond where you are today
While planning for your current tax activities is crucial, any smart leader knows that planning for tomorrow is just as important.
If your business already operates in multiple countries within the Asia-Pacific region, you may be considering expanding even further. This means, of course, even more legal, compliance and cultural differences to navigate.
Therefore, it is essential to check with potential providers about their global capabilities.
For example, BoardRoom is part of Andersen Global, a worldwide network of tax and legal professionals operating in 315 locations. As such, we are well-versed in a range of international company taxation and tax planning issues.
In short, partnering with an international tax advisor ensures that wherever you grow your business, they have people on the ground to deal with the local tax regulations.
Look beyond just tax
When choosing a tax advisory service, it is also worth checking whether they handle other aspects of corporate advisory and management.
As your company expands, you will need to navigate the issues that lead back to the important issue of tax and tax compliance. You will also need to consider company incorporation and corporate secretarial services.
Partnering with a corporate advisory service that offers a full spectrum of corporate services, can help make expanding simpler. It is also more efficient, cost-effective and allows the business to focus on its core operations.
Streamlining your operations often becomes more important the bigger you get. Once you start to see the benefits of outsourcing your tax to a trusted firm, you may consider other areas in which they could help, such as:
If you decide to engage a full-service firm to handle your tax, they will already be familiar with your business structure, operations and working style. This will enable them to seamlessly move to support you in other areas of your business.
Cut the complexity by consolidating
When you consider the cost and effort of coordinating individual tax specialists across the region, the benefits of consolidating with one partner quickly add up. Having people with an in-depth understanding of the local tax incentives and benefits your company is entitled to can create significant savings each financial year.
But the benefits extend far beyond mere cost savings into making business simpler.
There is no doubt that tax complexity is on the rise. Having a trusted tax advisor to help you coordinate your growing operations within the Asia-Pacific region while navigating the changing regulations can reduce this complexity.
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