The International Entrepreneur Podcast

#4 Part 1: Latin America with Cesar Ramos and Francisco Bracamonte

November 17, 2022 Kreston Global Season 1 Episode 4
#4 Part 1: Latin America with Cesar Ramos and Francisco Bracamonte
The International Entrepreneur Podcast
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The International Entrepreneur Podcast
#4 Part 1: Latin America with Cesar Ramos and Francisco Bracamonte
Nov 17, 2022 Season 1 Episode 4
Kreston Global

In our fourth episode, we visit Kreston's Latin American business arm with two brand new guests to share some personal business experiences, and get some great insight into how to be successful when expanding into Brazil and other Latin American territories.  Part 2 coming out next week!

Link to the full Kreston Global report can be found here:

Written, hosted, edited & produced by Infinite Global:

Show Notes Transcript

In our fourth episode, we visit Kreston's Latin American business arm with two brand new guests to share some personal business experiences, and get some great insight into how to be successful when expanding into Brazil and other Latin American territories.  Part 2 coming out next week!

Link to the full Kreston Global report can be found here:

Written, hosted, edited & produced by Infinite Global:

Kreston Pod ep 4 part 1

Hannah Robinson: [00:00:00] Hello. And welcome to Kreston Global's, the International Interpreneurreneur Podcast.

I'm Hannah, your host, and we're back with two new incredible guests. To continue our discussions around the Interpreneurreneurial mindset. Today we're visiting Latin America to get their take on the Kreston Global Interpreneurreneur report. If you've just joined us as a new listener, I'd recommend listening to you episode one, part one for some general housekeeping on how this podcast works.

But in short, we'll be speaking with our new guests for too many episodes. If you. [00:01:00] Discussion will be split over a part one and part two. Part two being released next week to keep these sessions easily digestible for busy listeners. Anyway, let's get to it. I'm thrilled to have our episode four Interpreneurreneurs here today representing the Latin American arm of Kreston Global.

Would you both like to introduce your. 

Francisco Bracamonte: Hello, this is Francisco Mont. I am from Mexico from a firm called Kreston Via, uh, I'm leading the, the firm. We have offices in eight different parts of, of Mexico in the main cities. I'm in a city that is called Puebla. It's not very known, but is very close to Mexico City.

And I'm an accountant and also a lawyer. I studied both careers and I'm in the tax and legal practice. Of the firm I have, I'm in Kreston since, uh, 30 years ago, almost 30 years ago. [00:02:00] Um, and um, some days I used to play golf. I like golf. I have two kids, and it's a pleasure being here. My 

Cesar Ramos: name is C Rams. Uh, I'm from Brazil.

I have been work with, uh, the accounting and the audit. Uh, almost 25 years now. Uh, my company name is Krestone Partnership. We are based in Sao Paulo. We have around, uh, hundred employees in our office. Uh, I'm also member of the Global Out Group at Creo. And, um, in my free time, I love to play soccer. I think this is the most interesting that I do, uh, besides the work.

So that's my, my day, my day routine. For 

Hannah Robinson: a little bit of background, Kreston Global is an international accountancy network that brings the best minds in business accountancy together. I think a great place to start would [00:03:00] be to hear how you both got into accounting in the first place as a career, and what inspired you to become an accounting Interpreneurreneur in your own right.

Cesar Ramos: May maybe, maybe, maybe I can start to like . Uh, yeah. When I, I finish my, My elementary school in Brazil, uh, I, I have to look for a job because like I have no, I have no money. So, and, and then I saw some options in in Brazil, which was we call trainee. Trainee is the first level for, for auditing. And uh, I was, I was really interested to, to be a trainee because if I, I saw the name, it was trainee, it was an English name and say, okay, it's very exciting.

But to be honest, I didn't know what accounting was at that time. But then I got this, uh, opportunity to, to work as a trainee for auditing. And, [00:04:00] uh, my company that time was a baker, Chile, uh, the company Brazil. And of course they requested me to, to start like, uh, study, uh, accounting, uh, in the university. So then, uh, my, my life with accounting start like, uh, from my needs to work and then an opportunity to, to be a trainee at, uh, another auditing firm.

And, uh, here, Uh, I am, like, after 25 years, everything that I have so far, all the travel that I have done, um, in other countries, it's, uh, I can say it's because that I have been, uh, luck in. So I took all the opportunities to work in the, in the accounting area. That was my relationship account. 

Francisco Bracamonte: Yes, I can, I can talk about this also.

Um, I study, my first, uh, career was accountancy [00:05:00] and I started working, uh, in Audi in a firm here in my city that is, uh, was part of Art Anderson. Uh, I was working in Audid in Audid for, uh, around six years. I discovered, I prefer to be on taxes. So I went again to the university being older, and I study law law and since then I'm working on, on taxes.

We started a small firm at that time and in, uh, 2002 we had around five years of being working in, in the firm. The firm was, uh, bigger at that time, and we joined to Kreston in 2002. And since then, Uh, we have, uh, grown a lot now. We are around 300 people. We are in eight different cities. We are 15 partners.

And this is my, my path in the accountancy. 

Hannah Robinson: And to give [00:06:00] listeners a little more of an idea about you as people and what makes you tick, we thought as is customary, we'd ask an icebreaker question, if you don't mind humoring us. If you could have dinner with anyone in the world past or present, who would it be?


Francisco Bracamonte: Uh, I don't know, probably, uh, a lot of people, but probably Maha Macand is one of the biggest, uh, figures in history, in my opinion. The way he used to resolve the problems were really smart. Uh, he was, uh, concentrated in, uh, having an emotional balance in not, uh, uh, um, falling only in anger and doing, uh, irrational things.

So the way. Conducted the independence of India, uh, and the, uh, conciliation between different religions was a pretty smart now. So I think it's an example in today's, uh, world. That this, uh, uh, with a lot of, of problems and [00:07:00] violence and, and hate. So I think we should take some example of, of, of this guy. No.

Even for work, no. The perseverance and the leadership is something that we can learn about in these times. So I choose Mahama Gandhi to have a, a dinner with him. Yeah. 

Cesar Ramos: Um, in my case, possibly, uh, if I had the chance to meet, uh, the Elizabeth Queen, for me it was like a, a great opportunity. Cause I was watching the, the Netflix series and, um, I was, I was very interested to know, uh, more details about her.

And, uh, and for sure, I think it was, uh, pretty cool to have this kind of a genuine discussion about, uh, all of her history. And, uh, yeah, that's something that, uh, I'd like to do. If it's possible, maybe someday, maybe. Great [00:08:00] answers 

Hannah Robinson: there. So onto the Kreston Global Interpreneurreneur report, which is the reason why we're all together today in the first place.

What was the most surprising finding showcased by the research for you and why did it stand out to you in particular? 

Francisco Bracamonte: Uh, for me, uh, there are a lot of points to highlight in this. And probably the most interesting part for me is, uh, the things that the clients want, because in the past, uh, we, we used to think that, uh, if you are good, technically it's more than enough to have good clients and happy clients.

And, and, uh, uh, we discovered that this, uh, this, uh, thing is probably in the third line of the, of what the client is wish. Uh, the most important thing, as I remember in the paper is that you know your community and you know, the, the local regulations. So it's important that, uh, for a foreign company, you not only give, uh, [00:09:00] tax service, legal service, Audi or whatever, but you can also introduce with, uh, some part of the community that, uh, uh, is necessary for, for the client to start doing business in the.

Other point that is something that we should concentrate according to the, the, the report, uh, is in the responsiveness of, uh, the petitions of the, the client's petitions or request. Uh, sometimes we, we, we are not the fast to answer or, or we don't even answer an email. Okay. I'm starting your case. I will, uh, send an email in a couple of days giving you the answer.

Now the, the speed of of business is different. The clients need a very fast answer, need a very, uh, I don't know how to say, but, but a very good. Uh, behave or, or, uh, attitude from the, from the consultant, uh, about dancer. So, so [00:10:00] it, it has changed in the past probably if you or a good lawyer or a good accountant or a good whatever, uh, is more than enough.

No. And, and now the client is assuming that you're good because, uh, you are part of an international dream, and it's not the only characteristic that, uh, he or. Uh, his a wish in your service. So this was very surprising. Another point was that, uh, clients are looking at Africa in the past, uh, probably, uh, this continent is not a good or, or or appropriate place for doing business.

Now the countries are growing and the international companies are thinking of investing in, in, in Africa. It's a very good point, uh, as, as a human because. I think they are going to have more opportunities, but this also surprising because as a network we need to be strong in that continent also. So these are my perspective.

Cesar Ramos: Yeah. Um, I'm, I totally agree with, uh, Francisco [00:11:00] and, uh, regard the, the. The response speed. We do have this problem in my office, of course, cause we always try to answer the customer, uh, in 24 hours maximum. So, and I think, uh, in the past we don't have the internet. So in the, after the globalization, Everyone, uh, they expect to receive the, your comments or any kind of a response as, as quick as you can.

So this is something that we are always improving my office because especially, uh, most of our customer is from Europe or from US, and some of those from, from EX as well. And, uh, we know how important it is. To have this kind of, uh, communication, um, very, very fast. So that's something that I can add. Your [00:12:00] Francisco's comments.

Hannah Robinson: Now looking more to your own business territory, what do you think your country does to support Interpreneurreneurs looking to expand to or from Latin America? Is that reflected in the research, do you think? And do the Latin American specific findings align with your own personal experiences in. 

Cesar Ramos: Maybe I can start at this time.

Maybe if you allow me, boss. I see for example, in Brazil before, before Covid 19, our country was growing very fast. The company was very, very nice. Uh, the Unemploy employment rate was, uh, going down, but then we, we lost almost like two years. So, uh, now, uh, the company are trying to recover themselves because many, many companies, they wanted to bankrupt.

And the others, they, they are trying to [00:13:00] recover themselves after this, uh, pandemic. And, uh, when I look for Brazil, for example, most of the Interpreneurreneurs, they are looking for us to, to do the business, uh, in Brazil. Because Brazil is very, is very big country, looks like a continent, so they see a lot of opportunity to expand the business in Brazil.

So I don't feel like, uh, uh, the businessmen in Brazil, they, they are looking for make an investment in other countries. I think they prefer first to, to increase their own business in. . And, uh, and then if there's a possibility, if it does, it's uh, good. Uh, uh, uh, a big company, large companies, they may think about it to, to go overseas, but I think the first reaction when I think about the, the Brazilians Interpreneurreneurs is to explore our local country first.[00:14:00] 

And, uh, I don't, I don't see a lot of, uh, uh, benefits or incentive from the government to, to go oversee. That's my view from, from my research in Brazil. 

Francisco Bracamonte: I can, I can, uh, continue with this topic. And, uh, one thing that I discovered reading the, the investigation is that international clients see Latin America as one country.

Or not, not necessarily as a lot of countries. Uh, so they expect to have coverage in all the region. International companies used to have an office in Mexico City or in Sao Paulo or Rio Bogota, or Weo Airs the biggest cities in Latin America and they're expecting to receive services. From all Latin America offices, but, uh, dealing not necessarily with a lot of people, but having like one point of contact.

So I think it's really important that in Krestone we, [00:15:00] uh, uh, uh, work coordinating the efforts of all the firms and having a leader of the project if we want to have, uh, work with one client all around the, the, the country. Uh, the client identifies us as a, as one region, country, because obviously we share lang.

Uh, culture, uh, and in general the, the legal system is not too different. So, um, I think we, we need to strengthen our Latin America network working on fast responsiveness from the firms, having people who can speak English. English is the international language of the, of the businesses, even though they are, the companies are not necessarily from UK or United States.

So it is a things that we need. To improve in Latin America in the future that I have learned about this, this report, I think Latin America will be in the next decades, a good business center because we have a lot of workforce that is [00:16:00] cheaper than in the developed countries. The culture is very different from from other countries, but once you understand the culture, the Latin American.

People, uh, are really hard workers. Uh, education systems are improving. So we have educated, uh, workforce. Um, so, and we are close to, to United States. That is one of the biggest markets in the world. So I think that we need to be prepared to, to work in this environment that is coming in the next decades.

Hannah Robinson: And it'd be, it'd be great if we could hear a little more about maybe those looking to move into Latin America to do business, you know, what is there, uh, in place to help those Interpreneurreneurs? 

Francisco Bracamonte: Probably I can start. Um, uh, I, I, I live in Mexico, so there are a lot of, uh, us. Companies here we are close next to United States, and the cultural difference is, uh, very, very [00:17:00] big, uh, between Mexico and the states.

Even the legal system is really different here in Latin America and in particular in Mexico. The formalities are really, really hard. No. In the States it's probably in some part easier to make businesses. So it is a challenge to, uh, work with clients to help them to understand all the Mexican. And Latin American regulations and as, uh, big companies, uh, investors here in Mexico, uh, take, take time to understand the regulation and to, and sometimes to respect the regulation.

For example, let me give a very simple example. They. They have the books in English? No, the Mexican law And in general, the law in all Latin America says that you need to have the books in Spanish. No. They have international systems that are working together in all the work the world. And here these local regulations try to impose some things like having the local currency and the local language.

So it's, it's very [00:18:00] hard to, to, to work with, with big companies, not because sometimes I think, okay, I have investment in 17 different countries and now in Mexico, they want me to modify myself or not to have the things in Spanish and with different regulations. So it's one of the biggest challenges. Um, also in, in general in Latin America, the rule of law is not so, so developed like in other countries.

So here you face some challenges for doing business that is really hard to understand for, for, and even for us Now, we don't want to live in this kind of environment, but this a reality. You need to. To, to, to face this reality when you are doing business, and it's a challenge because you are like a sandwich, you are in the middle now between the, the lot of thousand of, uh, ridiculous regulations and bureaucrats that are not working in the speed that is necessary, and the company that is demanding you as advisor to be fast and to finish.

Work that, uh, you have been, [00:19:00] uh, contracted. So probably this is one of the most important things. The second one, as we talk before, is the language here is not very common. That most of the people's. Speak good English. I'm a good example of bad English, so , but, uh, but it is really hard to find, uh, people who speak English and, and, uh, in our firm and in general in CRE firms, we need to have a lot of people speaking the language because we, uh, are, um, prepared to receive, uh, international companies.

In fact, I guess that most of the. Prefer to work with international companies because they pay fees according to the levels of other countries, developed countries, and we receive more money. But what is a challenge to have the human structure to work with these clients? So it's interesting. We need to work harder on being prepared for working with international companies.

Cesar Ramos: I see, uh, I see from [00:20:00] Brazil, especially from. We have this kind of, uh, the language issues like, uh, because we have people in Brazil, Who are able to speak English, but now I would say after the globalization, they are more interest to learn the language. So, and I feel like if you not to have a business outside your country, if you're not to expand your business, you, you must be able to at least speak one language.

Let's say English for example. And for us in Latin America, we must speak. Spanish as well. So, and I think one of the thing that I see in the local Interpreneurreneurs that they don't speak English sometimes if the president of Brazil, he does not speak English. So that's maybe is one of the, the issue that I see when you think to, to grow or to expand, uh, overseas.

Hannah Robinson: I think that's a great place to close off for today. Part two will be released next Wednesday. Uh, we'll be carrying on the discussion with [00:21:00] Sessa and Francisco covering topics like the Interpreneurreneurial mindset, uh, key report takeaways, and how the business landscape has evolved over the years since they've both been in business.

If you'd like to read the report we've been discussing, then as always, you'll find the link in this podcast description. We really do think it's an invaluable resource for those looking to expand or move their business overseas. And join us all again next week to continue the conversation. See you soon.

You won't want to miss it.[00:22:00] [00:23:00] [00:24:00] [00:25:00] [00:26:00] [00:27:00] [00:28:00] 

Cesar Ramos: Yeah, uh, I totally agree. Francisco, so. Let me, let me talk about my experience, my personal experience, because when I start working in the audit, it was, uh, 90 10, 96. It's a long time ago. So then, uh, uh, I had my first contact with international investors in Brazil. But at that time I didn't speak English, of course.

I mean, still learning, uh, English, but in that time I was like zero. But then I, I saw, uh, as a businessman, I saw an opportunity because I was like 22 years old. But I, I saw that, uh, those guys, they are, I would say, uh, more in compliance for the regulation. Everything has to be white or black. No green, no gray area.

So, and I identify myself [00:29:00] with this kind of culture. So then I dedicated all my, my career to, to learn, uh, English, of course, the technical language. to do business. But then, uh, when we joined Kreston, which was 2006 2006, and um, we, we saw that, uh, being part of a network, attend international conference, uh, meet all the members of Creo, which was a great opportunity to, uh, to increase our local business in.

Because at the beginning I always, uh, hear people, they are saying people do business with people, with people they know, like, and trust. And, um, I, I agree because at the beginning I, if I like the people in the, I know that this, this person and, uh, I would do business with them for sure. [00:30:00] Uh, nowadays, maybe I change a little bit to my mind.

I, I don't need to like the, the, the customer at all. It's good to, it's nice to have, uh, but of course we need to keep like, uh, uh, knowing you or knowing your customer helps a lot. And for me, my experience was investing a lot of time efforts in my relation, uh, between, uh, all the Cresto members around the.

Um, I almost, uh, attended most all the conference. I think I, I miss just like, uh, the Asian conference unfortunately, but it helps a lot as a businessman to grow my business in Brazil. And I would say today maybe, uh, 80% of our, uh, revenue in my office in Brazil comes from international business that have like a.

Uh, uh, make a deal with, uh, or [00:31:00] Indi, it was referral by Crest or referral for someone that I have met in during this kind of, uh, international, uh, business trip.