A driving force for positive change


By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

August 2023

We are all in business for a purpose. Businesses exist to create and sell products or services and, by doing so, to make profit. A business that does not make money will not be a business for very long.

But having a profit motive is not the same as being a purposeful business. Certainly, purposeful businesses exist to make money, but they also have a wider motivation that informs everything they do.

Put simply, purposeful businesses do not put profits before everything else. They operate with positive social, environmental or corporate goals in mind (and often all three).



Purposeful businesses make money from solving problems and never from creating them. They identify a challenge and focus their efforts on doing something to help customers overcome it. They work to minimise any negative impact those efforts may have on wider society and the planet.

In short, they see their products or services, and also their behaviour as corporate citizens, as a means for positive change. Some brands, alongside their products or services, might position themselves as ambassadors of environmental or social change. Other simply offer solutions to the everyday needs that people face.

Purposeful businesses aim to be good corporate citizens. That might mean minimising the environmental impact of supply chains, or putting employee wellbeing at the heart of their human resources strategies. It also means abiding by local and international regulations at all times.



The British Academy1 has produced a set of guiding principles by which purposeful businesses should operate. It states:

“Measurement should recognise impacts and investment by companies in their workers, societies and natural assets both within and outside the firm. Performance should be measured against fulfilment of corporate purposes and profits measured net of the costs of achieving them.”

This sounds a little like an ESG strategy, and meeting ESG criteria can certainly be one of the goals of purposeful business. But a company that integrates these principles ‘will organise itself on all levels according to its purpose’. That will involve areas like corporate governance, shareholder obligations, financing and investment too.



In the UHY network, our member firms aim to make informed decisions for the benefit of their own business and to support their clients. As well as core accountancy skills, our members offer consultancy and business advisory services that not only help to make organisations compliant with regulatory standards, but also help them to become fitter and more efficient. Many of our members offer specific services around ESG, technology adoption and corporate social responsibility.

In short, our member firms seek to add value to client businesses. By working together and sharing expertise across borders, they also help multinational companies expand more seamlessly into new territories. By sharing knowledge, ideas and innovations across our network, UHY professionals are able to offer clients the most up to date support on technical, regulatory and organisational issues and standards.


1British Academy  https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/publications/future-of-the-corporation-principles-for-purposeful-business/

Image credits:

Greenhouse interior by Abigail Lynn on Unsplash

Site managers by Gustavo Fring for Pexels

Teamwork by fauxels for Pexels




An expression of insight


By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

July 2023

Member firm professionals across the global UHY network write blogs, contribute to articles, speak at events, produce reports and much more.

All this activity might be best summed up in the term ‘thought leadership’. This is a well-worn phrase these days – it might be described by one person as the expression of expertise, and by another as the expression of opinion.

Someone else might insist that anyone who has a blog or podcast on a single subject is a thought leader. These can all be very different things, but they are credited as thought leadership anyway.



To my mind, there is a little more to it than that. A thought leader certainly needs to have wide experience of their subject matter, and they also need to think deeply about it. Through practice, research and discussion, they strive to acquire meaningful insight. The final piece in the jigsaw is the desire to share that insight with others.

In this interpretation, a blog can contain thought leadership, but not every blog – and in fact not many blogs – will. An article qualifies for the title only if it contains insight in terms of a fresh angle, an against-the-grain opinion, or a new approach to an old problem.

Thought leaders use their expertise to explain and inform. They answer the questions their audience asks. They deliver authentic content. But they should also provide something that their readers, listeners or viewers will not easily find elsewhere.



In this way, thought leadership becomes useful for both authors and audience. The audience gets potentially useful insight. The authors refine their thinking by testing it in the real world, and are seen as authorities on the subject.

Acquiring such a reputation can certainly be good for business. Organisations, brands and individuals all use thought leadership to increase their standing among customers, clients, targets and peers. Thought leadership is a way to show that you understand your customer’s challenges, or that you recognise and understand new developments in the sector. It shows your authority and authority inspires trust.

The usefulness of thought leadership is amplified by the ubiquity of digital and social media. In the past, a CEO might write an article for the company magazine or website and a handful of people would see it. Today, an interesting opinion, shared widely on LinkedIn and Twitter, can start a wide-ranging conversation and be seen by hundreds or thousands of interested parties.     

Many years ago, thought leadership had a narrower meaning. It tended to be applied only to major new pieces of research. It was leadership because it moved the profession forward, shed light on an unexplored topic and was entirely original. Thought leadership was the preserve of large firms with big research budgets.

The democratisation of thought leadership is no bad thing. The advance of a profession should not be led solely by the operators with the deepest pockets. We all have a stake in the future, and we should all have the opportunity to be part of the debate.

It is good that the term is now used more loosely, but the word ‘leadership’ should not be ignored. Thought leaders add something to the discussion, rather than just regurgitating information that has been expressed many times before.



What they add does not have to be groundbreaking or even surprising. But in its small way it should move the debate forward.

It could be an anecdote that illuminates the benefits of a new networking opportunity. It could be a fresh, well considered opinion on a piece of controversial finance legislation. It could be a case study that describes how a firm managed to overcome a unique or unusual challenge. In our magazine UHY Global we encourage readers to think about the impacts and opportunities for their business from external issues and commercial change around the world.

It could be a thousand things, but those who read or hear it should go away with something to think about, and the sense that they have been presented with a new idea or way of doing things. They might not agree with the new angle or fresh approach described in the piece, but they will understand that it adds something to the conversation. 

There are few great leaps forward, in business as in life. Instead, the future is reached through many incremental steps. A well-expressed article or conference presentation, written or given by an expert with insight, can help set the direction of travel. That is the aim of thought leadership, and it is why UHY professionals are keen to be part of the discussion.      

Image credits:

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-working-at-the-desk-in-office-8111853/

Photo by Matheus Bertelli: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-man-holding-mic-3321793/

Photo by MART  PRODUCTION: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-writing-while-holding-an-ipad-7550431

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The right support is critical


By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

June 2023

Good businesses start with an idea that skilfully and efficiently connects supply with demand. But while every business needs one, even the best idea will not, on its own, develop a healthy and regular turnover.

That is because starting a business is so much more than just inspiration. It is notoriously hard work. You need to research everything, from the market opportunity to applicable tax laws. There are endless decisions to make and forms to fill in and the following are just some of the questions you will ask or be asked:

  • How will you access company formation advice?
  • How robust is your business plan?
  • What licences or permits might you need?
  • What happens if you want to export goods or services overseas?
  • How much do you know about employing staff/managing payroll?
  • If you intend to store customer information, what are the rules around that?
  • How will you fund your business?


Suffice to say that none of this is easy. Many entrepreneurs are so unprepared for the set-up phase that they never make it to the good part, when they can actually start selling goods and services.

They underestimate start-up costs, or decide the potential rewards of starting a business do not outweigh the risks. Sometimes, they just become swamped by bureaucracy.

The good news is, entrepreneurs do not have to do any of this alone. If you have a business idea, the very first thing you should do is look into all the advice and guidance that is readily available in your own country or region. Wherever you are in the world, there is likely to be a lot.

A good start would be to review a UHY ‘Doing Business Guide, readily available, and free, on UHY.COM


Small businesses are the lifeblood of the global economy. They contribute up to 45% of global GDP and employ up to 60% of the world’s workforce (as reported by Gitnux in Small Business Statistics and Trends in 2023).*

Unsurprisingly, governments want to encourage this essential sector. Economies thrive when people turn good ideas into growing businesses.

That is why, in many countries, governments run schemes to help people start new companies. This help is often in the form of a website or helpline. It can also include local hubs where start-up specialists offer personal support to new businesses (or prospective new businesses) in that region.

Government small business information websites may give you all the information and contacts you need, but try local authorities, chambers of commerce and business associations too. If they cannot help you directly, they will be happy to introduce you to someone who can.

This government-backed support should be the first port of call for any new business owner. The advice is likely to be free and will be given by people who know local rules and regulations and have a solid overview of the local business environment. They can also introduce you to local small business networks, a valuable source of on-the-ground advice.


The other place to seek tailored, relevant advice is from professional service providers, many of whom are business owners themselves and will be familiar with the challenges, regulations and pitfalls. If your business is going to be bigger than just a sole trader you will probably have to partner with an accountancy firm anyway. An added reason for doing so is that good accountants now offer so much more than just ensuring your financial compliance.

Good accountants can be trusted sources of business advice. For new businesses, they can highlight potential funding streams, or offer advice on applicable tax or business rate incentives, which can be generous for companies in their first year of operation. They might be able to tap into their existing connections about affordable premises and equipment.

In addition, professional service providers are often active in regional networks of business angel investors. They are the people who make the introductions.

An experienced accountant is likely to have knowledge of the market you intend to operate in, and to understand its opportunities and pitfalls. They may have clients in the same sector, or might have done in the past.

Accountants are at the business coalface every day, which makes them a rich source of advice and information for new business owners. They can offer both practical experience and a specialist view of the wider economic environment.

Accountants are also familiar with processes you would otherwise have to learn to streamline your workflow – cloud-based systems for storing documents and files, smarter invoicing, cashflow control, efficient payroll and automatic receipt saving. They know local tax and labour laws in detail, and how these rules may be applied to your business. If you want to sell abroad, now or in future, a global accountancy network can help you move across borders in the most efficient and cost-effective way. With our considerable sector and country expertise UHY member firms can deliver timely advice to help new business owners make the right decisions at the right time.

Starting a new business is exciting. But it can also be daunting, thanks to the volume of information new owners have to take on board. A mix of government help and professional advice is the best way to ensure great ideas become good businesses.

* https://blog.gitnux.com/small-business-statistics/

Image acknowledgments:

Research: Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels
Business. Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels
Professionals. Photo by Rebrand Cities on Pexels




A valuable route to business success


By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

May 2023

How do you ensure that people in every part of your organisation have the knowledge they need to do their jobs well? The short answer is, with difficulty.

A lot of information is documented. It is written down and stored in files and folders, on paper and digitally. In this case, sharing knowledge is a management challenge.

  • Is it easy to find?
  • Do the people who need it know it is there and have access to it?
  • Can it be easily revised and updated over time?
  • Where does the responsibility lie and who has ownership for updating these documents?
  • What governance is needed?

There need to be formalised processes in place to make sure all this happens, or the risk is, that it will not. Often, there are legal requirements around storing and sharing certain types of information.


Sharing knowledge is not easy because knowledge is, by its nature, diverse, fragmented, always changing and often inaccessible. For example, if a nugget of relevant information about a great promotional opportunity is hidden away in your lead partner’s mind, what happens when they retire?

These informal, undocumented and often highly valuable tips and tricks evolve organically and in response to real business challenges. They are the value of experience, tested by time and proven to be effective.

What kind of knowledge do I mean? It might be knowing the time of day when a major client is most receptive to a phone call. It might be an effective exercise for promoting remote team engagement. It might be insight into the nuances of business culture in a cross-border market.

This is the kind of information that lubricates the cogs and wheels of business and is easily lost when employees leave or retire. Even if they stay, too often organisations do not have processes in place to share this kind of applicable insight across departments or teams. That limits its effectiveness. It may be highly valuable, but if it is siloed it cannot be put to wider use.

As a global network, we understand the complexities of sharing knowledge across an organisation, and we know its benefits. We distribute more formal information, such as the kind of technical knowledge a professional services network must continually share and develop, in the usual ways, for example through a comprehensive digital archive available on our intranet. We also organise a calendar of national, regional and global meetings at which expert speakers from inside and outside the network share specialist knowledge. We run a yearly timetable of educational webinars and internal newsletters.


It is fundamental to UHY that our member firms share insight across borders, allowing them to serve international clients more effectively.

We use mentoring to disseminate the knowhow that is accumulated by experience. We encourage secondments across the network so that individuals get to try new ways of

working, experience business culture in other countries and  bring that knowledge back to their firms.

We work to promote continual communication, within and between the member firms in our network. Regional and international events create a collaborative environment. Special interest groups bring together colleagues with similar specialisms. We hope and expect that conversations which begin when colleagues come together, continue, in other forms, when they return to their firms.

Sharing knowledge and knowhow can be complex, and requires different channels for different kinds of information. Do it in the way that best suits your circumstances – whether through digital knowledge centres, informal chats, training sessions, secondments or anything else – but do it. The continual communication of knowledge is the key to success.

Image acknowledgments:

Learning: Desola Lanre-Ologun on Unsplash
Experience. iStock.com/Tempura
Communication. iStock.com/metamorworks