Interview with Víctor Salamanca, Auxadi’s CEO & general manager
Second Session – Seminars ‘Experiences of Internationalization with success‘ organized by Master’s Degree in International Business.
Video - Interview Víctor Salamanca, Auxadi's CEO
Auxadi is an international Company that was set up in 1979 by my father. I started my career at Auxadi in 1997 when working 15 employees. We provide administrative, financial y accounting services for international organizations which want to settle themselves in other countries. Nowadays, we have offices in Latin America and Europe. We have got presence in countries such as Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Portugal and France.
When, how and why did you internationalized the firm?
First of all, we were focused on a niche market of international clients who came to Spain and required the support of financial and accounting departments. Those organizations needed, in first instance, someone who took charge of the entire payroll and compliance with tax obligations.
In 1998, after one year at the job I saw the need to make Auxadi international and we have put into place the first model of internationalization: partnership. The Association was founded by a French and a Dutch company and ourselves with more than 750 professionals working with clients in 17 countries.
Over the years, we understood that the Association was enough from a regional services view but still lacking consistency in the whole execution process, what is vital for our business. Since a few years an international desk has been built up in Spain with specialized professionals in different jurisdictions. They come from Brazil, Colombia, México… from those countries where we are already working providing a complete coverage.
How do you attract clients?
Initially, international law firms such as FreshFields, Linklaters, Garrigues, Uría…, etc. recommended us to clients. These law offices are useful for those international companies established in Spain who needed legal services as well as compliance with tax obligation, accounting and payroll. At that time, through referrals, we have been growing at high rates while the Spanish’s economy was gaining confidence as a strong economy.
Over time and following a process of internationalization, we have adopted our own strategy to attract clients and complementary to the process of referrals. On one side, through the strengthening of the brand image via social media, events, sponsorships, workshops and so on. But also thanks to a customized targeting programme clearly differentiated that allow us to identify our target: companies that need local coverture mainly in the markets where we are operating.
Its international origin
Our clients used to ask us for providing them services in other jurisdictions. I remember discovery Channel case. They called us because as they were satisfied with our services provided in Spain, they need us in Mexico and Brazil. At that time, we worked through Acacia Association I mentioned before so we made a referral for our client. Then, we realized that instead of using that referral system for third parties -we were not able to ensure our quality- we need to set up in those countries. And that was the main reason of the creation of the international desk in Madrid, to ensure the consistency of the execution.
What are the next steps in the international arena?
2 years ago, we have imposed upon ourselves to duplicate the size of the Company by October 2018. We are on the right road as we are reaching growth rates to over 30%. Our goal still be promoting our international presence. We count on our both current client’s support and potential customers, so yes, we aim to expand our brand in Europe and Latin America.
A family business operating at international level
I’ve been working in Auxadi since I was little, when I was 13. I used to work with my father during Saturdays and Sundays. That allowed me to understand Auxadi’s business model from every angle. Acquiring these special knowledge would perhaps not have been possible in other kind of business structure.
Furthermore, as we run a family business we are prudent and conservative when we have to distribute dividends. The development of such a project need funds and our financial source are not external but financed out of own resources, thanks to not distribute dividends in recent past years.
Least, we cannot forget that a process of internationalization has to make business sense. We’ve been working with international clients so our expansion was obvious as multinational organizations ask for local coverture right now. They don’t want to have a partner in each country, France, Spain, Colombia, México… They want a single partner who provides local coverture.
Then we had different alternatives. First, we could sell our business or integrated ourselves into a Big Four. However, due to our family-owned status who involves sentimental attachment and we didn’t want to do it. Then, we have to decide either standing where we were – which probably leads to failure – or just trying it by ourselves. What we did was developing a successful project based on our own values and culture as organization.