As the World Churns

There is no longer any such thing as a &doublequot;distant shore.&doublequot;
Scott LeibsJune 1, 2011

At the risk of getting a certain Disney song stuck in your head, let’s acknowledge that it truly is a small world after all. Companies no longer need to be thought of as “multinationals” to do business in multiple nations. And even the most local of companies is now vulnerable to disruptions on the far side of the globe, and thus needs to understand what’s going on where, and what its exposures may be.

You can watch only so much cable news, however. Hence our special section on doing business globally, which offers a finance-specific, balanced look at both the opportunities and risks that you’ll encounter when you look to distant shores for growth and/or potential threats.

Senior editor Vincent Ryan takes a close look at the latter, explaining just what all those street protests and associated political rumblings may mean for companies that are trying to get a toehold in emerging markets (see “A World of Risk“). On a more hopeful note, senior editor Alix Stuart offers a tutorial of sorts for small and midsize companies that are ready to make their first overseas acquisition, and want to be sure they don’t stumble (see “Making the Leap“). We round out the package with a look at one specific country, Ireland, which, despite its domestic problems, nonetheless offers a surprisingly strong measure of appeal to expansion-minded companies (see “Back on the Map“).

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Elsewhere in this issue, we offer the results of our latest “Deep Dive Survey” in which we ask CFOs about their attitudes toward, and hopes for, corporate tax reform. They are not advocating for a draconian rate cut, but they do believe that the status quo must be changed, in several different ways.

Finally, another aspect of reform that your company might be ready to embrace concerns the prices it charges for its goods and services. As contributing editor Russ Banham explains in “The Price Is (More) Right,” software that can help companies calculate optimum prices is now in its second generation, and is more useful (and affordable) than ever. The recession’s hangover and volatile commodity prices have made pricing strategies very difficult to set, but our story may help you make sense of the possibilities. At no charge.