Britain was in shock when Theresa May formally triggered Britain's exit from the European Union and it left many businesses reconsidering their presence on the European stage. Companies in their thousands rely on their ability to import or export across Europe, which allows them access to the plentiful international market and enables them to develop their brand's global reach exponentially. As such, many will now have to consider their next move post-Brexit.
May will not undoubtedly look towards the option of expanding and opening a satellite or new office in Europe. Launching a new office can be a daunting prospect, even when it is UK-based, so the idea of building overseas can be even more so. Currently, as an EU citizen you are entitled to set up a business in any European country of your choice, 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 international work, we are well-versed in supporting companies as they transition through this change.
Options available to UK businesses looking to set up overseas vary, with one option to set up a European Company, which can provide more mobility in the single market, and can be easier 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 identify 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 might be attractive for some businesses looking to grow, 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.
It's important to consider the time it may take to set up aboard, 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.
Another element which is integral to research is the local market. Research as to if there is demand for your services in that region and if there is likely to be significant competition for business. Is there an ample customer base? Is it easy for suppliers to do business with you and consider shipping costs and logistics? 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 or contact our experienced commercial team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 029 2009 5500