International Business Unit: Understanding Multi-National Enterprises


International Business Unit: Understanding Multi-National Enterprises

Research Seminar

Tuesday 12 November 2019, 16:00 — 17:00

Presented by Sarah Eaton (Office for National Statistics)

Venue: Office for National Statistics, 1 Drummond Gate, London, SW1V 2QQ

The concept of globalisation is not new, however the recording of complex globalised production arrangements within Multi-National Enterprises (MNE’s) has become exceptionally difficult in terms of producing National Statistics. What is less explored in particular, is a more detailed understanding of these businesses and the resulting practical challenges faced with the collection and treatment of these data. The requirement to adopt the concept of economic ownership (as opposed to legal ownership) within the System of National Accounts and Balance of Payments manuals has added to these challenges especially affecting the measurement of cross-border flows of goods and services.

ONS’s International Business Unit (IBU), is working closely with a number of large MNEs to ensure that they are appropriately capturing the impact of globalisation models (such as cross border use of Intellectual Property and contract manufacturing) via their economic surveys and administrative data.

This presentation will provide an overview of the work of the ONS International Business Unit, including some examples of real cases studies of the complex organisations of MNEs (anonymised), which nicely describe the real challenges faced by Statistical Agencies and some of the steps that can be taken to address these.

Sarah Eaton is head of the International Business Unit (IBU) at the Office for National Statistics (ONS). She works closely with senior accountants at a number of large global businesses (often financial directors) along with their IBU accountants gaining extensive knowledge of the complex organisational production models (contract manufacturing, factoryless goods producers) which businesses have adopted. Sarah has held a variety of roles during her 20 year career at the ONS. The majority of her experience surrounds working collaboratively with data respondents and senior personnel at large and complex MNEs.  She has contributed to the development of the Eurostat’s European Profiling Programme and EuroGroups Business Register (EGR) and in recent years, to several national and international publications on the effect of globalisation on business structures of large and complex MNEs.

Video Recording