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Abc Accounting

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Accounting International Project

Doing business in a particular nation requires a focus on a multi-dimensional understanding of its culture and business practices. Understanding those differences and adapting to them is the key.
In such a richly diverse and complex country as India it is difficult to impart generic conclusions that can be used by those doing business there. Regionalism, religion, language and caste are all factors that need to be taken into account when doing business in India. Behaviour, etiquette and approach are all modified depending on whom you are addressing and the context in which they are being addressed.
The business culture of India is a reflection of the various norms and standards followed by its people. Indians have various cultural yardsticks, which extend to their business culture too. Thus, it is important that a person visiting the country has an idea of the business culture of India. Thus, it is important that a person visiting the country has some basic idea regarding the business ethics and customs followed here. Having a good grasp on Indian business culture will ensure that you succeed in maintaining a well-earned affinity with your business counterparts.
The following tips will give them an idea of the working and business norms in practice here. These form the basis of doing business in India as well as closely connected to risks of doing business in India. • The 'namaste' forms an important part of Indian etiquette and is generally used while greeting and saying good-bye. This gesture is akin to the act of genuflection in some countries and is formed by pressing the palms of both hands together (fingers up). The folded hands are placed below the chin and accompanied with a bow. However, educated Indian men and women, who are acquainted with western customs, prefer shaking hands. Moreover, while greeting any individual use his or her title (if he has any). To mark respect, you may also suffix 'ji' to the name of a person. • A sound knowledge of India's cultural practices and business etiquettes is necessary for any trade or business venture within the country. A proper understanding of culture and business etiquette would not only demonstrate a respect for India but will also create a feel good factor amongst the prospective clients. • In India guests are treated with utmost respect and courtesy. International travelers can expect to enjoy the Indian hospitality. At the same time culturally and as a mark of politeness, Indians have difficulty in saying no, this could be a stumbling block in negotiations and in closing contracts. • The notion of time, time management, punctuality is still an anathema in India. It is more to do with the mindset and ingrained in the Indian culture. It would not be surprising if meetings are postponed, re scheduled, cancelled or organized at a very short notice. • The proficiency over the English language for the average middle class is commendable. Official communication-letter faxes, emails are generally received without any hitch, but it would be prudent to cross check if the transmission has reached the receiver. • Bureaucratic hurdles and a laidback approach to work in the government circles could result in delays in processing, overload of paperwork and a general lack of confidence in the system. Therefore immense patience is very much necessary for any business transaction in India. • In India, Companies follow the hierarchical system and decision making is usually from the top to bottom. It could at times be time consuming, International companies show respect to this. The lack of infrastructure and inadequate supply chain management can also act as bottleneck for foreign investment • Aggressiveness can often be interpreted as a sign of disrespect. This may lead to a complete lack of communication and motivation on the part of the Indians. One needs to take the time to get to know them as individuals in order to develop professional trust. Indians are very good hosts and will therefore, invite you to their homes and indulge in personal talk often. All this is very much a part of business. One is expected to accept the invitation gracefully. Taking a box of sweets, chocolates or a simple bouquet of flowers would definitely be a welcome gesture. Indians respect people who value their family. They will allow family to take priority over work, whenever necessary. • Criticism about an individual's ideas or work needs to be done constructively, without damaging that person’s self-esteem. As Indians are used to a system of hierarchy in the work-place, senior colleagues are obeyed and respected. Supervisors are expected to monitor an individual's work and shoulder the responsibility of meeting deadlines. Therefore, it is important to double-check and keep track of time. Educated Indians have learnt to adapt to the western methods of monitoring one’s own work and completing it on schedule. • An Indian who hesitates to say ‘No’ may actually be trying to convey that he is willing to try, but presuming the task to be unrealistic in nature, he may worry whether he would get the job done. It is important to create a safe and comfortable work environment where it is okay to say "No" and also okay to make mistakes without the fear of repercussions. • In a group discussion, only the senior most person might speak, but that does not mean that the others agree with him. They may maintain silence, without contradicting him (or you) out of respect for seniority. Westernized Indians on the other hand can be quite assertive and direct and it is fine to treat them in the same manner. Politeness and honesty go a long way in establishing the fact that your intentions are genuine. • Women are treated with respect in the work place. They feel quite safe and secure in most organizations in India. Foreign women working here will find it easy to adapt to an Indian work environment. However, they need to plan their wardrobe carefully, keeping in mind the conservative dress codes in India. • Humor in the work place is something that some Indians are not used to. Most traditional Indians are teetotalers/vegetarians, so their eating habits need to be respected. Westernized Indians are more outgoing and do socialize and drink (excessively at times).

These tips mentioned above may not apply to all situations, as India is a land of contrasts and each person you meet will be unique blend of Indian/Western values. People from different socio-economic strata, educational backgrounds, class and religion may behave very differently.
For any expatriate the pace, pressure and protocol of living and working in a new country can be overwhelming, but there are many positive aspects to living, working and doing business in India – the valued friendships that one makes with Indians, the beautiful and exotic places to visit, the multi-varied cuisine to experiment with, and the many, many interesting things to buy. An expatriate who is prepared to accept the differences and make the necessary adaptations will definitely be greeted with the sweet taste of success in all business endeavors.

References:

1. http://www.tradechakra.com/business-culture-india.html

2. http://www.stylusinc.com/business/india/business_india.htm

3. http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/etiquette/doing-business-india.html

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