When you are doing business, conducting due diligence becomes a way of life. Analyzing and mitigating risks, examining numbers, and investigating, reviewing, and auditing facts before you make any business decisions are all part of due diligence. And this process is even more important when you decide to take your business outside of your own country's borders and go international. Whether you are partnering or eyeing a potential joint venture with a foreign company, entering a strategic alliance, acquiring or merging with a foreign entity, or simply entering a new market, conducting a thorough international due diligence process is always a crucial step to success.
International due diligence is much more complicated because the process involves checking certain factors that you are not familiar with. For one, you must look into a country's economic, political, and business climate. You also have to look into a country's compliance rules and its people's culture.
Here are a few tips to make things easier for you as far as conducting international due diligence is concerned:
1. Start early and establish a timeline.
Start your international due diligence process early because you cannot always predict turnaround times when certain unpredictable factors are involved. And when you are in a different country, there are more of these unpredictable factors. The diligence process may take longer to complete than you expected. For example, you may experience more red tape there than what you're used to in your own country. So, the earlier you start, the more you can adjust where the time element is concerned.
It is also important that you establish a timeline for the various steps in the due diligence process to ensure that everything is carried out in an efficient and timely manner. Each step comes with its own set of expectations.
2. Keep your focus.
Focus your investigation, review, or search on the most important scopes of your due diligence. If a potential partner's financial records are the priority, then keep your eyes on the financial records. That is why it is particularly important to know and understand your specific needs so you would have an idea what your due diligence priorities should be. This way, you could develop the proper due diligence program.
3. Keep your budget in mind.
International due diligence can get expensive. So be mindful of your budget. Know how much the process will cost you before you begin and prepare for contingencies. Keeping your focus on your due diligence values would also help you minimize your costs.
4. Form a reliable international due diligence team.
Establish a team that is composed of your own trusted research personnel and an experienced and skilled third party who is familiar with a country's compliance rules, political stability, legal system, banking structure, economic stability, foreign exchange risk, tax implications, intellectual property protection laws, and dispute resolution options, among others.
5. Sign a confidentiality agreement.
Do not forget to prepare and sign a confidentiality agreement with parties who become a part of the due diligence process. This agreement will protect sensitive data from being shared with anyone outside of the process. You should also have an agreement regarding a secure method for storing all the sensitive information you have gathered.
We hope that these few tips are helpful and that they provide you with information on how you can efficiently conduct international due diligence.