This is the main finding of the annual Global Ambition Survey published Thursday by BDO, an international accounting firm with offices in more than 100 countries.
BDO asked chief financial officers in 13 countries where they see the “greatest opportunities for future growth,” and found that Germany ranks among the highest, despite its relative maturity as a market.
The survey found that in drawing up their expansion plans, corporate executives have to carefully balance increasing risks abroad and potential rewards – especially in volatile countries.
Because Germany’s economy is relatively stable and open, expansion isn’t as challenging as in places like Saudi Arabia, but it carries its own difficulties.
According to the report, the big problems that international companies’ have in Germany include difficulty finding effective managers, too much red tape and stiff local competition from other companies in an already mature market.
Meanwhile, German firms looking to expand abroad – often into huge emerging markets like China or Russia – have very similar difficulties, the report said, although massive currency fluctuations have become a bigger concern recently.
The importance of outward expansion for German firms has been made clear from the rising amount of revenue coming into German firms from outside the country.
The CFOs interviewed expected an average of 48 percent of their companies’ revenue to come from outside Germany in three years’ time, compared to the current 42 percent.
The survey was carried out between May and July and covered 50 companies in Germany and 751 firms altogether. It focused on the world’s largest mature and emerging markets, including China, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Of the countries surveyed, executives saw the most opportunity in China and the least in Italy.