Top 35 Networks 2012: Worth the effort

IS IT WORTH the bother joining a network or association? Well, in our case, the answer is a resounding ‘YES’.

We joined Geneva Group International (GGI) in 1996 as we were looking to broaden our presence internationally. Joining GGI gave us much greater access to well-established and experienced accounting, consulting and law firms that were committed, as we were, to providing clients with solutions to their international business requirements.

We recommend clients to GGI member firms in whose countries they are interested in building business relationships. We know that they will be looked after on foreign shores by trusted and respected professionals to meet the many challenges they face, whether it’s the complexity and intensity of information, or the language barriers.

Recently, Lawrence Grant, in collaboration with its GGI member firm in Cleveland, Ohio, Ciuni & Panichi, Inc. CPA, hosted a delegation of accountancy students from Kent State University for a seminar offering an in-depth understanding of how accountancy practices operate within the UK, in direct comparison to tax systems in the United States.

It gave them an interesting insight into these issues, and it was an excellent opportunity to outline our international expertise of the UK’s tax system and, in particular, how it differs from their own.

As many of them will go on to set up their own practice, they will now have the added advantage of being able to impart this knowledge when speaking to US companies, which we hope, in turn, will encourage multi-lateral business trading opportunities here in the UK and across Europe.

So again, in answer to the initial question – belonging to a network such as GGI has been very worthwhile. Yes, it’s been hard work in terms of being patient as we built our company’s profile amongst our international counterparts over the last 15 years, but we were willing to put in the time, investment and effort, and dividends have paid off.

We regularly participate in various GGI conferences, seminars and networking events, and through this membership have garnered many quality referrals which include an Eastern European beverage company, a Western European education group and a social networking company from Scandinavia.

Next year, a staff exchange program will see an employee of one of the firm’s Swiss associates, Walser & Partner AG, spending a year working at Lawrence Grant.

I can confidently say that these referrals would never have happened without our membership of GGI, which has given us the opportunity to broaden our client base to Central and Eastern Europe, USA and the Middle East.

Graham Busch is is vice-chairman of the international tax practice group of Geneva Group International and a partner at Lawrence Grant

Image credit: Shutterstock

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