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Doing Business in Austria

Having only been a state in its current form since 1955, Austria has prospered into a society with a highly developed infrastructure, an affluent standard of living, and a driven and accomplished workforce – excelling especially in the fields of banking, finance, biotechnology and precision engineering. It may only have a population of eight million and be short of its own natural resources but over 1,000 multinational companies coordinate their operations from an Austrian location. A resilient economy, a strong manufacturing base, transparent legal system and an ingrained willingness to embrace global trade and investment make doing business in Austria a worthwhile goal to adopt.

However, while the aim of doing business in Austria may seem like an attractive one, setting up a business can be a slow and complex process. Time will need to be taken to ensure a business is established by following the appropriate regulations. The economy should also be considered when doing business in Austria. Economic restructuring measures have failed to keep pace with neighbouring Germany with public debt remaining high. A contributing factor is the stress of an ageing population on public finances.

To successfully do business in Austria it is paramount that time is dedicated to understanding the culture of Austrian business society. Great value is placed on academic acumen, punctuality and pre-planning before meetings. It is advisable to work with Austrian subsidiary companies in a spirit of co-operation and co-determination to honour the proud Austrian concept of social partnership or Sozialpartnerschaft. It is also important to note that it is customary for Austrians to refer to even close colleagues by their surname and that Austrians appreciate a literal use of language so avoid ambiguity.

As you can see, a high score on The World Bank’s scale for ease of doing business does not mean that doing business in Austria is without its complications. Many make the mistake of assuming Austrians are like Germans, when in fact they are extremely proud of their own unique culture, steeped in history. The World Business Culture website offers useful advice and knowledge on how to avoid such misconceptions whilst bringing you up to speed on the Austrian economy and business logics to pave the way for your commercial success in Austria.