Sometimes It Takes a Team: An Attorney and An Accountant Add Value to International Clients
May 8, 2019
With any business transaction, clients should structure the deal correctly, minimize risks, and prepare for local or foreign tax implications. When international companies, or wealthy foreign individuals, wish to invest in or conduct business in the United States, additional complex issues arise.
Because these clients may be dealing with U.S. laws in addition to foreign laws, it’s prudent to assemble a collaborative team of professionals to achieve optimum results. For example, accountants provide tax, accounting and finance planning and advice where attorneys offer legal information in specific practice areas, such as immigration or corporate law. By bringing experts to the table, the client receives additional value during the transaction.
How Do Attorneys and CPAs Work Together?
Attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs) are natural teammates. With sophisticated, international transactions, these two professionals can cover a wide range of considerations, providing legal, accounting, and international tax advice. Pendas International Senior Finance Executive and CPA Ana-Barbara Llorente states:
The optimum legal and tax structures of a complex transaction can be aligned or conflicted. The legal team typically provides the various legal options and we follow to explain the tax implications of each of those proposed legal structures (or legal decisions that the client might have to take).
Further, Ms. Llorente, as a CPA and the Spanish equivelent (Censor Jurado de Cuentas), can better serve her clients by working together with other professionals in areas where clients need specialization, such as international or real estate clients. By bringing specialized talent to the table, the client receives the benefit of professionals looking at the transaction comprehensively rather than in individual silos with little or no cross-communication.
Why Should International Businesses Hire a Team?
When looking to the U.S as a business destination, foreign companies or investors will need various adept professionals to guide them through potential barriers, whether legal or financial. For example, Attorney Natalie Lynch recalls specific situations with two recent international clients:
We helped a Spanish biochemical company leverage an American expatriate’s knowledge of the industry to expand its operations in the United States. Ms. Llorente’s team worked along with my legal team, assisting the client in working with a local bank, locating two distribution offices, labeling documentation, and expanding their products into new niches.
With another Spanish industrial organization, we worked with them to find and hire an executive sales professional and negotiate the salary, allowance, and benefits provisions for that role. Additionally, we facilitated contracts to safeguard their intellectual property from various organizations they interfaced with as they began operations in the United States.
By teaming up, both attorneys and CPAs can build a trusted relationship with their client. The team can collaborate in-person, over the phone, through video conferencing, and email to maintain solid communications between all involved parties.
What’s Different About Domestic Transactions vs. International Transactions?
In other nations around the globe, accounting taxes and legal skills are often combined into one professional position. Alternatively, in many non-U.S. countries, attorneys and accountants may operate out of one organization, rather than separate firms. In the U.S., however, professional ethics rules prohibit attorneys and CPAs from owning the same firm. Thus, American attorneys and CPAs typically operate out of individual organizations.
The U.S. system of professional alignment can often be confusing to international companies or investors. Simply, they’re not used to it. Additionally, like any country, the laws have some quirks that may not exist in other countries, such as business formation, tax, or immigration laws. By utilizing a team of professionals, non-U.S. companies and investors know that both their attorney and their CPA will help them understand the risks and expectations of their transaction under the local laws.
By engaging Attorney Natalie Lynch and Ana-Barbara Llorente, CPA, you’ll get a team of professionals that not only understand international business transactions but also professionals who care. Lynch and Llorente work to understand the details of your business while helping you achieve your goals by investing in or creating a U.S.-based company.