UHY GLOBAL REAL ESTATE GUIDE 2024...

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WELCOME TO THE 2024 UHY GLOBAL REAL ESTATE GUIDE

UHY Global Real Estate guide 2024 – Out now!

In a globalising world, many investors, both corporate and private, are looking for opportunities internationally. While real estate is one of many investment options, the venture is unique in that it cannot be physically moved as most other assets can. Consequently, investors must conform to the rules and regulations of the country where the property is situated.

Like other major investments, proper planning is needed to avoid any pitfalls that may lie along the way and to minimise tax exposure.

The purpose of this Guide is to identify regulations (for example, the deduction of expenses and interest) and tax rates (for example, *VAT, wealth tax and inheritance tax) found in various countries that may affect property investments.

The contents have been carefully compiled by UHY experts in over 50 countries included in this Guide but are intended for general guidance only. Since legislation changes, you should refer to the appropriate UHY source or professional advisor for the most up-to-date details, or for more specific information.

I hope you find the UHY Global Real Estate Guide a valuable tool and introduction. Our member firm advisors look forward to helping you with your real estate ambitions.

Additional information for Editors

About UHY

Established in 1986 and based in London, UK, UHY is a leading network of independent audit, accounting, tax and consulting firms with offices in over 340 major business centres across more than 100 countries.

Our staff members, over 9,500 strong, are proud to be part of the 20th largest international accounting and consultancy network. Each member of UHY is a legally separate and independent firm. For further information on UHY please go to www.uhy.com.

UHY is a member of the Forum of Firms, an association of international networks of accounting firms. For additional information on the Forum of Firms, visit www.forumoffirms.org

For more information on UHY, please contact Felicity Sandford, marketing & business development manager, UHY International, Quadrant House, 4 Thomas More Square, London E1W 1YW, UK.  Tel: +44 20 7767 2621, or email: f.sandford@uhy.com 

DIGITAL STRATEGY...

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DELIVERING BETTER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE 

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By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

January 2024

In 2024, every business needs a digital strategy. That is not the same as having a website and email address. It is about using digital processes, not only throughout your business but also, and perhaps most importantly, in the continual quest to improve customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty.

Like everyone else, business people live their lives in a world of apps and instant access. As consumers, they self-serve using banking apps, download train or concert tickets to digital wallets, and interact with brands via AI-powered chatbots. While they might not expect quite the same level of convenience and accessibility at work just yet, the gap between business experience and consumer experience is closing fast.

Increasingly, our member firms’ clients, for example, expect digital communication channels, self-serve options and cloud-based accounts they can access from anywhere. They want the service they receive in a virtual world to be as seamless and professional as the one they receive in its physical equivalent.

WHAT IS DIGITAL CLIENT EXPERIENCE?

A good digital experience offers clients easy, intuitive routes to the information or services they seek. On one hand, that might be something as simple as making sure web pages and blogs link to the most relevant and up to date sources. On the other, it might mean offering clients self-serve account options, allowing them to pay bills or alter account details without having to pick up the phone.

Self-serve is increasingly popular in business-to-business (B2B) settings. A 2021 Gartner survey found that 43% of B2B customers would prefer to not interact with a salesperson at all. They want an entirely digital, self-serve process.  

With that in mind, the digital experience you offer needs to be both comprehensive and tailored to your own unique circumstances. For some, better client experiences might come from a cleaner, more logical website layout, while for others they may come from omnichannel communications (integrated email, instant message, chat and voice services). Or they may come from offering a simple and secure digital document repository.

Good digital plans can also have positive impacts in unforeseen ways. For example, when initiatives remove tedious and repetitive tasks from an employee’s day, it gives them more time to spend on higher value work, which might include forging better relationships with clients.

DIGITAL EXPERIENCE REQUIRE CONSISTENT STRATEGIES

It is clear that digital innovation for better client experience has to touch every part of your organisation, integrating tools and information flows across teams and departments. This is why digital transformation should be driven by an overarching strategy. The ad hoc implementation of digital tools across an organisation can lead to information silos, fragmented services, and ultimately frustrated clients.

A seamless digital experience requires consistency around planning, implementation and operation. Digital innovation might be led by IT professionals, but it must be championed by committed leaders across the business. Employee education and training is essential. If you are giving clients digital options, colleagues have to know how to use the relevant tools, as well as understanding the benefits and implications for their own roles and workflows.

This leads us to consider that a digital strategy is a journey rather than a destination. Technology does not stand still. If you offer a digital experience (and you should) clients will expect you to keep up-to-date. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) can offer clients more personalised and customised services. If you are not looking into the potential of AI in your business now, you probably should be soon. It is important to explore new ways to regularly innovate and improve the digital experience – and reach new customers.

DIGITAL IS INTEGRAL TO THE WAY BUSINESS HAPPENS TODAY 

Having said all of this, digital strategies are not one-size-fits-all. Some markets are more digitally advanced than others. Expectations may differ from region to region, or from one industry to the next. Businesses need to pick the best-fit digital strategy for their resources and circumstances.

The crucial point is that everyone should be doing something and doing it with a clear vision. In my profession, our member firms and their clients increasingly expect smooth and seamless digital experiences, and many prefer to interact virtually, at least some of the time. Whatever the details of your own digital strategy, the key is to commit to it wholeheartedly. Digital is not a bolt-on or a nice-to-have anymore. It is integral to the way business happens today.

 


1Source:Gartner Keynote: ‘B2B Sales Must Focus on Seller-Assisted Digital Experiences’

 

Image credits:

Colleagues: Mizuno K – Pexels

User experience: iStock – StudioU

Transactions: Yan Krukau – Pexels

 

 

Zonda

Zonda Energy is one of the essential cogs in the machine of
the alternative energy industry. The company specialises in the assembly
of wind turbines, using cranes of up to 1,350 tons and electromagnetic
installation. It offers an end-to-end service to clients, including the
transport of turbines by land and sea as well as post-installation repair
and preventative maintenance. 

Read more.

Healthy Chef

Staying true to its original singular philosophy of
‘healthy by nutrition’, this is a business that was ahead of its
time when it launched 17 years ago and still today, is regarded
as an industry trailblazer.

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Gorilla

“We had always planned to expand into Europe from the UK, but Brexit brought
challenges that none of us were equipped to deal with,” says Richard Allen,
head of European Accounting, Gorilla Glue Europe Ltd.

Read more.

PATHWAYS TO BETTER BUSINESS STRATEGIES...

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Planning for success

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By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

December 2023

Effective change is integral to business success, but change is not always easy. Businesses that attempt to evolve without following a well-planned and communicated strategy will lack resilience and be more vulnerable when things go wrong. They may be perceived as having poor leadership which affects reputation and confidence. 

Organisations often develop an overall strategy for growth which in turn requires fundamental change in other areas. For example, your growth strategy might demand that you keep hold of more of your experienced employees who create the most value. That in itself requires a strategy. It might demand digital transformation to create efficiency, and that also requires a strategic approach to change.

In other words, businesses thrive or fail by the strategies they follow. So how do you make sure your own business strategies are properly planned and implemented? Here are five steps to follow.

 

DEFINE YOUR GOALS (AND HOW YOU WILL REACH THEM)

Your overall goal might be growth, but your HR goal is to reduce employee churn and your IT goal is to create a more effective technology stack. Each requires you to define specific, realistic and measurable goals (15% revenue growth in 2024, 25% reduction in recruitment costs and so on), and outline the paths you will follow to reach them.

For example, if you want to boost employee retention, you might poll your workforce on what it likes and dislikes about working for your organisation. You might analyse what competitors in your industry do to retain staff. After all that, you might decide that the best way to maintain employee morale is to invest in a wellbeing programme or develop more flexible ways of working.

 

FOCUS ON RESOURCING

Whatever it is, your strategy needs to be realistic. For example, you might not have the financial or human resources to implement new digital accounting processes without severe disruption. If that is the case, there may be other options. You could outsource more basic accounting functions to a global network like UHY, freeing up internal employees for higher value work.

Whatever you decide to do, you need the resources to match your ambitions, or you need to find another way to reach your goals. There is no point reaching for the sky if you are never going to get there, and employees will soon work out if a strategy is unrealistic. On the other hand, colleagues will quickly adopt and advocate for a well-considered strategy with clear and realistic paths to success.

 

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO STRETCH

Having said that, realism should not be a cover for a lack of ambition. A strategy for change can and should stretch your organisation. It should demand creativity, collaboration and everyone bringing their talent and passion to the table.

To get the balance right, you need to understand your own teams and also the wider market. Does the market have capacity for your growth plans? Are there underserved areas of the customer base that are crying out for better solutions? What do your competitors do better than you and where are you ahead?

When you can answer these questions, you can mould a strategy that suits your particular circumstances, and has more chance of success.

 

SET THE ANTICIPATION FOR CHANGE

People in your organisation need to know about any upcoming change and how it will impact their work. They need to make sure they are prepared and have the resources that will facilitate change. They need to know what to expect when the strategy is being implemented.

Introduce your plans early and often, in ways that will filter through to the business as a whole. Use in-person meetings, internal newsletters and presentations to set anticipation and give everyone the time and information to prepare for change.

 

IMPLEMENT YOUR PLANS EFFECTIVELY

When you are ready to implement your strategy, do it methodically and carefully, based on a detailed plan of action. Establish periodic objectives that adhere to the SMART principle – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.

Talk and listen to your team throughout the change process so you know that they understand what is going on and are comfortable with their role in driving progress. When each step of the strategy is complete, review the process and the results that have been achieved so far.

If you follow these steps, tailored to your own unique business circumstances, your strategy is more likely to lead to a successful outcome. In business, change cannot be piecemeal. It needs to be meticulously planned and carefully implemented, feeding into your organisation’s wider strategic objectives.

If you feel you would like support with your strategy or with implementing change, UHY member firms around the world offer specialist business advisory services, helping clients align business strategy with internal resources and market requirements. Drop me a note and I and my team will put you in contact with a UHY office near you.

 


Image credits:

Strategy by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Presentation by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels

Meeting by Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels

HOW TO ACHIEVE EFFECTIVE INTERNAL COMMUNICATION...

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And why it is essential to do so

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By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

November 2023

Successful organisations prioritise effective internal communications as much as the interactions they have with customers and clients.

Without that focus, companies can struggle to innovate, collaborate and grow. How do you run a successful business when one department doesn’t know what another is thinking or planning to do?

When office-based companies are at the start-up stage, internal communications can be almost entirely face to face. It might be five people working from a single room. But as they grow, disseminating company information to employees becomes more complex, and requires an internal communications strategy alongside relevant tools.

This has become even more true since the pandemic. Remote and hybrid working models can create challenging communications environments, leading to employees feeling disconnected from the business. With the wealth of tech now available to allow team members to communicate and collaborate in real time, working on different sites makes effective internal communications increasingly important.

 

SMOOTH FLOW OF INFORMATION

What is internal communication? Essentially, the term is a catch-all for the flows of information that take place within organisations. That can mean the messaging that flows from managers through to the rest of the organisation, with feedback and ideas that flow the other way. It can mean horizontal messaging as information is passed between departments. It can be emails and instant messages employees use to work effectively together, and it can be face-to-face meetings.

These information flows are essential to the smooth running of any business, amplifying the company vision, so that everybody buys in. They make relevant people and departments aware of a change to a system or process, as well as feedback from clients. They celebrate success and – if something does not go to plan – ensure everyone knows what has been implemented to put it right.

In addition, internal communications are often used to help create a sense of community and a shared vision, even in large and dispersed organisations. If you get these messages right, they can be highly motivational, driving businesses forward by promoting inclusivity, teamwork and the power of collaboration. In the UHY global network, we encourage communications between firms in different jurisdictions through everything from UHY’s intranet to a calendar of popular in-person events. UHY’s recent annual conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was an opportunity for member firms in the network to discuss challenges and developments in global accountancy as well as to network and collaborate on client business.

 

RIGHT TOOLS AT THE RIGHT TIME

So how do you promote effective internal communications? Technology plays its part. You need to give everyone in your organisation the means to communicate smoothly and seamlessly.

What this entails will depend to some extent on the culture of the organisation, but it usually includes a combination of calls, video calls and conferencing, email and instant messaging. This ‘omnichannel’ approach lets employees communicate in the way that they want, and in a way that suits the information they want to send or gather at any given moment. Channels such as business messaging apps that connect people to the information they need are increasingly popular as they can streamline the flow of information and promote inclusion.

These are not the only ways organisations communicate, however. Larger businesses may have an intranet or a company newsletter. Formal and informal presentations (in person or online) from senior members of staff are part of many companies’ annual calendar of top down communications. Some CEOs encourage employees to email them directly.

 

TRANSPARENCY AND CLARITY

When it comes to communications from senior management to the wider company, technology is only one part of the story. The other is tone, purpose and language.

In short, your communications should be transparent and clear, with a defined and straightforward aim. Do not mix messages or combine separate, important announcements in the same email. Always make them friendly, conversational and inspiring.  

Remember, you can send a company-wide email, but you cannot force people to read it. To get the message read as widely as possible, get to the point quickly and succinctly. When busy people see pages of text, they often click away.

Make sure everyone who needs to see a communication is included. Often, that might be everyone in the business. Even if an announcement does not directly affect the entire workforce, the reason for the change may say something positive about the way you want the business to operate, and that is something a lot of people will want to hear.

Maintain a consistent style and tone across communications, and provide opportunities for feedback. What does the business feel about a new innovation or ambition? Do employees on the frontline feel it will help or hinder their work, and in what ways? This is all hugely useful information.

Finally, measure and improve. Analyse employee engagement metrics (how often they read, share or interact with content, including sending feedback) and use the information to refine your internal communications strategy.

It is important that you do. Internal communications is the oil that lubricates the cogs of your corporate machine. The better they are, the more smoothly the machine will run.

 


Image credits:

Team call by Anna Shvets

Site discussion by Anamul Rezwan

Hospitality team by Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

TEAMWORK AND COLLABORATION...

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Why they need to be nurtured

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By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

September 2023

Teamwork and collaboration are essential to the smooth running of organisations. That may be stating the obvious, but it is remarkable how many businesses lose the collaboration instinct over time. Teamwork should always be considered a work in progress. It requires constant tending to truly flourish.

The benefits of teamwork are well known. Put simply, one brain might solve a problem one way. Ten brains working together might come up with a better way – or several – and in much less time.

When people collaborate, good things tend to happen. They approach issues from different angles, identifying different challenges and opportunities. Each individual brings their own knowledge and experience to the task in hand, allowing them to see things that others might not. In professional services, collaboration between provider and client is crucial to a successful relationship.

All of these benefits are important for business, so why do some organisations end up collaborating less over time? There are several possible reasons:

  • Siloed thinking. Teams and departments focus on their own results, not those of the business. That makes them less likely to work with others.
  • The loudest voice wins. Within teams, the most forthright or demonstrative members often hold sway. The voices of less confident members are drowned out.
  • Competition. Some measure of competition is fine, but an overly competitive environment – between teams or individuals – stifles collaborative instincts.
  • Leadership. If organisational leaders don’t value collaboration, they don’t encourage it and don’t invest in the systems and processes that nurture it.
  • Dispersed teams. Hybrid working models, if not managed well, can limit the opportunities for teams to collaborate.

There are others, but the results are the same. When teams fail, businesses suffer. The Centre for Corporate and Professional Development at Kent State University in Ohio, US, perhaps puts it best – “The failure of a team can start for a number of reasons, but the consequences are the same: factions are formed, battle lines are drawn, communication stops and suspicion rises. Productivity and efficiency drop off sharply.”

 

HOW TO KEEP COLLABORATING

How do business leaders stop this from happening? How do they embed teamwork and collaboration into the DNA of their organisations?

Most importantly, they should emphasise common goals. That means commercial goals, but also the firm’s ambitions in other areas. For example, solid Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and inclusivity policies can help to create a collaborative environment.

Leaders should lead by example. Be open to ideas and opinions. Speak and listen to staff individually or, if the organisation is large, survey them regularly and acknowledge their contributions.

Smooth channels of communication are essential for successful teamwork. Create feedback loops that staff can use to communicate ideas, challenges and opportunities to managers. If necessary, invest in technology – project management and teamwork apps, for instance – that allows team members to communicate easily with each other even if they are not in the same building.

Encourage team leaders to listen to the thoughts and ideas of even their most reticent team members. You never know where the next great idea will come from. A typical roundtable full team meeting might not be the right platform for everyone. If that’s the case, consider smaller, more informal group chats where everyone has the chance to contribute.

In addition, demolish silo walls. Implement systems and processes across the organisation that encourage knowledge sharing between departments.

 

ALL IDEAS ARE VALID

All this should go hand in hand with a no blame culture. Employees will not come forward with thoughts and ideas if they think it will cost them, in terms of reputation or progression. Emphasise that all ideas are valid, and that a continual flow of idea sharing is essential for business and their clients’ success. 

This is true for teams and offices, and also across organisations. UHY is a large global network, and we encourage collaboration between firms through a calendar of regional and international events, subject-specific Special Interest Groups, and the promotion of cross-border secondments and other, more informal, inter-firm links. We understand that collaboration across borders is as essential to our success, and that of our clients, as the teamwork within member firms. 

Successful businesses need a shared vision, a continual flow of thoughts and ideas to which everyone is comfortable contributing, and mutual trust. These things do not always come naturally, but there is much that business leaders can do to nurture the collaborative instinct.

 


1Centre for Corporate and Professional Development at Kent State University in Ohio, US https://www.kent.edu/yourtrainingpartner/what-do-you-lose-when-teamwork-fails

Image credits:

Team collaborating by Vantay Media on Unsplash

Ideas board by Lazizli for Unsplash

One to one meeting by Hey Memento for Unsplash