Globalisation is local at heart
If the current US Presidential election and the recent Brexit vote have taught us anything it is that there is a growing movement in many parts of the world against ‘globalisation’. I use the inverted commas purposefully because globalisation appears to mean different things to different people. To businesses it is all about the opportunity that a seemingly smaller, more connected world brings to the offer and distribution of top quality goods and services. It is the result of nigh on 100 years of trade negotiations and tariff reductions, worked on tirelessly by governments in all parts of the world. The aim has always been to level the playing field and generate prosperity by allowing access to markets everywhere – in exchange for access to their own markets. The way in which the world has progressed since, including in R&D and technological advancement certainly seems to give a tick to the whole enterprise, with provisos and an attitude that we can all, always do better. The hard work needs to continue, to provide a better outcome for all.
To many observers, globalisation is local at heart. If that’s true, then businesses and the professions that serve them need to give globalisation a local meaning too. As professional service providers via our accounting, tax and legal practices, we need to break down the concept of ‘global’ business, to demonstrate what it (in the vast majority of cases) does for local communities. This in turn provides another reason why those same professional service providers need to know and understand the colleagues they work with from all over the world – by getting together regularly and learning from one another.
Its heartening to know that more than 100 of the MSI Global Alliance members from all five continents have spent the past four or five days in Paris at the MSI Annual Conference, doing just that. Learning about key international business issues, from local perspectives is important and even more important to carry those messages home. It is important that local communities understand that, largely, the global tax system is not stacked against them, that the accountants and tax experts and lawyers in genuinely professional firms are as much locally focussed as they are globally knowledgeable. The majority of clients will always be local ones – and it is MSI members job not just to look after them locally but also to help those same local businesses launch into foreign markets, as much as overseas businesses are launched into our local markets. In this way, globalisation is local at heart too.
The Australian and New Zealand members were well represented at the MSI Global Alliance Annual Conference and local management board member Alec Blacklaw from Blacklaw Advisory in Melbourne can be contacted for further details.