JOS Interviewed On Japan Today:
JOS: Japan’s one stop shop for international companies entering the market
JOS Managing Director Kieron Cashell
[Published on Japan Today 4/45/2022]
TOKYO- Getting a foothold in the Japanese market can be a daunting challenge for a foreign company, big or small, and entrepreneurs. Knowing where to start can be a very difficult first step. This is where Japan Outsourcing Solutions (JOS) comes in. Its services are designed to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. JOS takes care of all the heavy lifting. Heading up the company's operations is Managing Director Kieron Cashell who works with a dedicated team both remotely and in house at their office in Minato Ward, Tokyo.
How long has Japan Outsourcing been in the Japanese market? The business was set up in 2008 originally as Solid Japan, but rebranded in 2021 as Japan Outsourcing Solutions (JOS).
What are the main services you offer? We provide end-to-end solutions for foreign companies entering the Japanese market as well as foreign entrepreneurs already in Japan. This includes turnkey set-up for a new company, and ongoing support for their back-office operations including accounting and tax, payroll, banking, HR matters, and most recently support for marketing and localization.
What is your fastest growing sector? Our clients are remarkably diverse, representing many sectors from all over the world, but this year we do see an increase in software and IT-related companies, sports entertainment, renewable energy and goods-importing companies.
How has the coronavirus affected your business? All-in-all our business was stable. We did have some clients that really suffered, and we supported them by applying for loans, grants and subsidies. We had companies come to us to reduce their cost base by outsourcing their accounting and payroll to us. We also had clients that enjoyed growth; it was great to see these businesses pivot and evolve into much stronger and competitive brands, despite the pandemic. From an operational standpoint, it really made us look at developing cloud-based services and operations. As both our team and clients moved to remote work, we became more efficient and adopted new software that truly modernized our work, which is traditionally (and in many regards still is) paper based, now we find ourselves leading this switch to cloud accounting which is exciting.
What percent of clients are foreign companies and what percent are Japanese? Technically, we work with all Japanese entities, but I would say 90% are headquartered overseas. This is because we specialize in overseas reporting in English while being locally compliant. Clients also like that they can have full visibility of their operations online.
How do you market the company? We try to have a diverse marketing mix, although referrals are the best source. We do a combination of online marketing, traditional media, SNS, some work with local groups like the chambers of commerce, and we also get involved with the international community, through golf days or charity events, etc.
A client, left, visits the JOS office in Onarimon, Tokyo.
Do you get a lot of new clients through referrals? We do. Our clients have been particularly good to us in referring new business, recommending their contacts and clients to us. We also have a network of partners that we work with who will regularly send referrals our way too.
Tell us about your team. We have about 20 team members including part time. We have four foreigners currently, and the rest are Japanese. Everyone is bilingual and we conduct business in both English and Japanese. We have a flexible work system, but we still value face to face, with most staff visiting the office a couple of times a week.
For you personally, what is the most satisfying part of your job? There are many parts of the job which I find satisfying. It is extremely interesting to learn about the different types of businesses our clients represent. But I suppose what l love the most is helping them realize their business aspirations for Japan and seeing them grow into successful companies in the market.
Looking ahead, are you optimistic for the Japanese economy? Do you think it will be an attractive market for foreign companies to enter? I think it has always been an attractive market for companies, and especially so now. Japan is the 3rd biggest economy in the world, and arguably, the most stable. There is real excitement in the market; there are jobs, working styles have changed and with it new ideas and opportunities, industries like Fin-tech and online-related businesses are thriving, the borders are slowly opening, and we see a lot of overseas companies moving ahead with their plans for Japan. I think the next 3-5 years will be extremely exciting, and we look forward to being a part of building an international Japan.