Globalization opens unprecedented opportunities for sellers who choose the right systems and deliver a consistent customer experience.
When international expansion beckons, though, it’s all too easy to underestimate the demands it will place on your core business technologies, including your enterprise resource planning (ERP), e-commerce, point-of-sale (POS) and tax systems. In addition to the necessary language and currency capabilities, your platforms will need the ability to handle local compliance and regulatory requirements, such as those concerning financial reporting and data protection. You should also consider how your systems will integrate with the local ecosystem of service providers. If you’re expanding into China, for example, you’ll need to know about WeChat, a massively popular platform for messaging, social media and mobile payments.
On the tax side, you’ll need systems that can handle a variety of indirect taxes, including value-added tax (VAT) regimes. Can your current systems support new payment types? Are the tax calculation engines robust enough to integrate data at the global level? As your technology strategy moves forward, look for platforms that are designed and built from the ground up with globalization in mind.
It’s also worth putting thought into how your platform technologies will affect the customer experience in an international context. Customers want a frictionless, predictably great experience no matter where they shop. Processes that have traditionally been regarded as “back-end” can directly affect the quality of customer interactions. Indirect tax, for example, is a component of pricing; customers expect absolute accuracy and consistency across locations and venues.
Please remember that the Tax Matters provides information for educational purposes, not specific tax or legal advice. Always consult a qualified tax or legal advisor before taking any action based on this information.