The key elements to business success are no secret: a good product or service, a promising market, talented employees and capital. It’s a both/and story. Leave out one ingredient, and the recipe falls flat. That’s why financing and managing your working capital optimally becomes even more important when going international. Doing so requires highly specific expertise, which is why companies often turn to organizations such as BNP Paribas Fortis. Guy Haesevoets, Senior Working Capital Advisor, explains more about their services and how they can make a difference.
"Exports and foreign investments are a powerful driver of Flanders’ particularly open economy. As a major Belgian bank, we are therefore strongly committed to supporting internationally active companies. To this end, we offer a full range of services, including cash management and export financing. We also sponsor initiatives such as those of FIT but also of Flanders’ ports, which are equally important economic drivers.
Our Innovation Hubs, specialized in biotech and cleantech among other domains, support innovative startups and scaleups. These have specific needs, such as finding venture capital or investment funds. To help them with that, we leverage our network – both within the organization and broader.”
“BNP Paribas Fortis is of course also part of BNP Paribas Group, a top player in Europe and one of the larger banks worldwide. With some 184,000 employees spread across 64 countries, this network is a unique asset when it comes to support companies with international ambitions.
Due to distance, cultural differences, local laws and regulations and new issues like exchange rate risks, relationships with new customers abroad are not always as close as in the home market. Consequently, exporters may not always sense which situations need to be followed more closely, resulting in greater payment risks. Thanks to our advisory services and colleagues around the globe, we provide the right guidance and support everywhere. If you join us, you will also have a local bank account in the foreign markets, which you can make and receive payments with, via a bank you know and trust.
The same goes for foreign investors setting up a base in Flanders. These are often large companies with whom we already have a relationship in the country of their headquarters. Existing customers can skip certain procedures if they want to invest here. A specialized team guides them in their investment projects, again in close consultation with colleagues in their country of origin.”
“Mergers and acquisitions are also ways to grow rapidly as a business. When dealing with M&As, don’t hesitate to speak to your banker for the best guidance and solutions, and be sure to rely on our experience and expertise. This being said, specialized guidance often proves crucial in smaller cases as well.
All too often, we see companies who are breaking through internationally struggle with the same hiccups. Despite their international growth and success, they reach their limits at some point. This is because the importance of reporting and follow-up grows as the complexity of the organization increases. If there’s no solid reporting or ERP system in place, this evolution is managed manually, which is a waste of time and resources while presenting an increased risk of errors. So, be sure to embrace digitization in your business processes as well as in your communications.”
“Meanwhile, customers are also increasingly asking how they can make their processes more sustainable. We are happy to help on that front, too. European legislation as well as the constant attention from all stakeholders involved – customers, financiers, investors, employees, etc. – currently make Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) reporting a hot topic.
Here, our team of specialists offers clients support and guidance as well. We also have incentives built into financial products such as loans or working capital that achieve ESG goals. Furthermore, we sometimes give rewards when an ESG goal is achieved, through a discount, for example. In the long run, no company will be able to afford not to invest in ESG anymore.”
- Largest bank in Belgium
- Part of an international group, present in 64 countries worldwide
- Offers financial products and services as well as advice, financing and guidance for companies entering new international markets