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Mid-market businesses face growing threat from international compliance regulation

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SHORTCOMINGS in the resources of mid-market companies that operate across multiple international markets are putting them at a competitive disadvantage against larger quoted companies, according to accountants RSM.

The survey, carried out among 100 UK-based international businesses with turnovers of above £50m, found that 40% of companies were not ready to meet their tax, legal and financial reporting obligations, over the next two to three years.

In total, 90% of respondents said they were concerned about legal and other regulatory compliance obligations, while 86% said they had concerns about tax and duty requirements.

Europe was cited as the most complex regional market in which to operate from a compliance perspective, followed by Asia, North America, Central and South America and the Middle East.

Interviewees reported that regulatory compliance was often as complicated for mid-market organisations as for FTSE 150 companies, although the resources available to larger publicly quoted companies meant they could overcome the challenges more easily and gain a competitive advantage.

Ian Sadler, head of RSM’s UK-based global compliance and reporting service said: “Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming EU referendum, it’s clear from our survey that middle market companies are becoming increasingly concerned about the growing complexity of international regulation and how they can deploy their limited resources to ensure compliance across multiple jurisdictions.”

In order to address their compliance challenges, the majority of mid-market organisations surveyed said they were looking for greater centralisation of their finance function and accounting platforms.

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