New Horizons | Market Entry Opportunities
ACCOUNTANCY & CORPORATE SERVICES | GREECE
Atlas Consulting PC
Sousana Patsoumi Kalfa
+30 2310 310910
Sousana Patsoumi Kalfa is the Chief Business Officer of Atlas Consulting and a certified tax accountant, a certified financial consultant and an international business development expert.She is also a speaker, author, a visionary and experienced business strategist and consultant. She has been fostering and building businesses for almost 20 years. Her Masters from Essex has stood her in good stead to advise businesses on an international scale, yet it is her natural flair for nurturing that has been key to her success.
Sousana approaches business holistically and organically, guiding them through their first steps until they can run on their own legs. Her business consultancy guides SMEs through market entry strategies, corporate planning, business development and culture development, so that they can get on with doing business. She helps startups and established companies to grow, innovate and sustain themselves in Greece. She is an experienced international business consultant that support foreign companies and investors to raise the appropriate funds for market entry strategies.
She also provides expansion strategy solutions to local companies that want to grow internationally by using Atlas Consulting’s extensive international network. She is an active member of International tax accounting and business associations and ecosystems.
“Before expanding to a new market, companies must do due dilligence around the application of their business model in the new market”
With five decades of market experience, Atlas Consulting is a reliable provider of BPO, financial and consulting services for SMEs and individuals, including company incorporations, accounting and tax compliance, payroll and HR, international tax planning, business administration services, and immigration strategies and expatriate solutions.
Since 1972, we have been making companies and individuals feel at home when they want to start and grow their business in Greece. We know and understand the challenges, the difficulties or issues that must be addressed. We bridge all of them in a holistic approach with high-quality solutions and services provided by our experienced team of tax advisors, lawyers, accountants and business consultants.
We help private clients to comply with Greek tax, property and employment regulations and settle all immigration and relocation issues.
With the motto “Global Vision, Local Action”, we do not consider ourselves a conventional Tax Consultants and Accountants company. We go a step further, providing business solutions that help SMEs and individuals to grow and thrive within the Greek, as well as the international, market.
What are the most common accountancy pitfalls your clients have encountered upon entering a new market – such as tax duplications or failing reporting criteria – and how did you help them to overcome them?
One of the most common pitfalls is their ability to understand the regulations under which they need to comply. They cannot easily comprehend that operating a business in Greece might be different in terms of monthly, quarterly or annually obligations; local accounting standards; or the way that they interact with local public authorities. Another pitfall is the lack of understanding regarding the necessity of preserving safe and secure storage of all the accounting information and archives, when other countries are not obliged to do so.
Local regulations and requirements are often overlooked because it may be hard to interpret the impact that they might have in the operations of the business, given that the cost of failing to keep up with regulations can be high.
It’s essential to be aware of and comply with the local laws in your chosen market. To help clients overcome those pitfalls, we provide e-books that offer guidance and necessary information about running a business in Greece. We also organise training calls and are always there to provide answers to their questions.
Effective pricing and cost calculation are key to successful entry into a new market. What due diligence should businesses do before they enter your jurisdiction to ensure their business model is a good financial fit for the local market?
For international companies, pricing is one of the most important elements of the marketing product mix, generating cash and determining a company’s survival and the effectiveness of their business model. Before expanding to a new market, companies must do due diligence of the application of their business model in the new market. To avoid unnecessary discrepancies and inefficiencies, there are three basic steps that need to be done before entry:
• Do extensive market research about the products/services that the company wants to provide to the new market, including general business environment information; Political, Economic, Social, Technological (PEST) factors; competitors’ products, services and pricing; the market readiness to welcome new products; logistics and the delivery of goods etc.
• Investigate taxation, employment and HR costs the company will incur in the new country.
• Firms must think beyond their domestic markets to survive and prosper in another market. They must think globally and act locally. For that reason, they need to explore and understand the local market culture and behaviors, the business culture, and etiquettes of each country.
There is no perfect way to set prices and to budget costs, but a smart pricing strategy involves knowing what factors to pay attention to, and what information to gather before entering the new market.
What do businesses need to do to effectively adapt their reporting practices to local accounting standards in your jurisdiction?
Financial reporting is a necessary component of sustained local and international companies. Greece, as a member of the European Union (EU), is subject to the accounting, auditing and financial reporting requirements established in EU Regulations and Directives as transposed into national laws and regulations.
The requirements for the preparation of financial statements are established in Law 4308/2014, which was issued to adapt to the EU Directive 2013/34. This law introduces differentiated financial reporting requirements for different types of companies, depending on their size in terms of annual turnover, number of employees and total assets, specifying applicable accounting standards.
Since the Greek General Accepted Accounting Principles (Greek GAAP) are different from the IFRS or other Accounting Principles and Standards, a company that wants to enter the Greek market needs to follow three basic steps:
• Find an experienced accounting firm and cultivate a long-term relationship with them to stay informed about statutory obligations.
• Understand and adapt to Greek statutory accounting standards and statutory reporting requirements.
• Specify and consolidate internal reporting needs.
Mitigating accountancy risks when entering a new market
Greece is a beautiful country, but there is a lot of bureaucracy and a complex tax and accounting environment. Before entering the Greek market, research the market thoroughly. Seek advice on accounting standards and statutory obligations before forming companies.
You should also find an experienced and well-established accounting company to put together a list of policies and procedures regarding your business’s accounting processes, including:
• If you use cloud accounting, how records will be kept
• How accurate documentation of financial transactions and records will be delivered
• How often accounting reports must be generated
• How security controls will be carried out
• The practical safeguards that should be considered to mitigate the risk of financial accounting and records being misused (e.g. for corruption)