Financial professionals have been dealing with "globalization" long before it became a popular PowerPoint slide or Twitter hashtag. As business units have ventured across the world in search of growth, chief financial officers, treasury teams and internal auditors have been following.
But what may be a simple case of chasing revenue for the sales team and the CEO becomes a complicated dance of disparate compromises for the finance staff. Enter an Asian market to take advantage of the young, wealthy populace you may only discover a new set of taxes or regulations that could drain all profitability from the undertaking. Leverage a pool of well-educated but affordable workers in Eastern Europe only to find that a new set of compliance and trade rules will cut off any cost savings before you hire your first worker.
Now the CFO needs to communicate to leadership that the overseas market they were planning on cashing in on doesn't exist, at least as part of the company's bottom line.
Often, being a financial executive means having to say you are sorry.
That dance has been made even more difficult because of the economic slowdown that many emerging and developing economies have faced in 2013. Europe will likely remain in recession through the rest of the year with the only hope for growth coming in the first half of 2014, according to the latest numbers issued by the International Monetary Fund in July. China and Asia will offer some opportunities, but at a more "moderate" pace, the IMF reports.
"In sum, global growth will recover from slightly above 3 percent in 2013 to 3 3/4 percent in 2014, some quarter percent weaker for both years than the April 2013...