When it comes to setting up operations in foreign countries, it pays to carefully select the right person to manage that office.  A special skillset is required to navigate the maze of filing requirements and cultural differences while meeting the needs of the home office. At top accounting firm Doeren Mayhew’s 2014 Client Conference, Houston international tax accountants and advisors Carrie Koshkin and Jennifer Mailhes offered the following tips to help you hire the right general manager of an overseas office.

Look for someone with:

CEO skills and more:

  • Your GM will wear many hats – sales and marketing, operations and administrative – so broad experience is a must

Entrepreneurial and corporate mindsets to:

  • Make local decisions about resource allocation – whether it’s money, people or focus
  • Motivate employees while respecting cultural nuances
  • Influence company direction so it can be embraced by the local team
  • Understand that the GM role does not provide the same autonomy as a business owner role

Strong communication skills:

  • The GM must articulate the company vision and make it compelling to attract, retain and motivate employees in that culture
  • Maintain dialogue – with customers, employees, country officials and the home office

Doeren Mayhew’s international tax accountants in Houston also note that an effective GM must:

  • Know company cultures – in both directions
  • Understand that business practices differ between countries different business practices, and that missteps can be very costly
  • Identify what to report back to the home office and use key performance indicators (KPIs) to build success and explain challenges
  • Recognize that what works in a parent country may not work in other countries, including:
    • Competitive compensation
    • Appropriate benefits
    • Structure of local office to service clients

Doeren Mayhew’s international tax services team in Houston helps multinational businesses navigate the complexities of doing business abroad and conduct international tax planning to optimize your global position. For more information, contact our Houston international tax accountants.