Russell Bedford International
Russell Bedford International

Russell Bedford Supports World Bank Doing Business Report for Sixth Consecutive Year

New methodology, but top-ten performers show little change

London, United Kingdom, November 01, 2014 --( Global professional services network Russell Bedford International has again supported the compilation of the annual World Bank Doing Business report, with a total 48 member firms and correspondents contributing information on tax regulation, reporting requirements, and the total tax burden in their respective countries.

This year’s report, Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency, examines the compliance burden on entrepreneurs in 189 jurisdictions worldwide. Responding to criticism of its methodology in recent years, the 2015 edition reflects a number of changes, no longer ranking countries’ performance on their aggregate scores in various categories, but rather in terms of their ‘distance to frontier’, reflecting each country’s progress in moving towards accepted norms of international best practice.

These adjustments have not resulted in any major changes in the best-performing countries, however, with little alteration in the top ten: Australia and Finland are new entrants in tenth and ninth place, respectively, with the UK up two places from tenth to eighth, and the USA down a surprising three places from fourth to seventh. While New Zealand now beats Hong Kong to second place, Singapore remains the world’s least onerous jurisdiction, in first place for the ninth consecutive year.

Russell Bedford member firms again contributed data to the report’s Paying Taxes survey, which this year, in addition to examining the regulatory and financial burden on entrepreneurs worldwide, investigates the impact of the global financial crisis, over a nine-year period to 2012. Its conclusions appear to be broadly positive, with the global average total tax rate falling by 9.1 per cent during that time. The crisis appears also to have encouraged fiscal reform, with the onset of the downturn initiating the greatest improvement in regulatory change.

Compliance obligations, too, have reduced consistently since 2004 – a trend the bank attributes to greater use of electronic filing systems. However, labour taxes and social security contributions show little change throughout, and while entrepreneurs enjoyed a sharp reduction in average profit tax rates during the crisis, these have begun to edge up slightly as at 2012.

Russell Bedford International CEO Alan Bezzant commented: “It is gratifying to note that, in the face of severe economic downturn, the response of governments worldwide has been to reduce both the regulatory and fiscal burden on entrepreneurs. But as slower growth again threatens many of the OECD countries, and as the emerging markets continue to struggle with disproportionately heavy compliance obligations, it is imperative that this reform drive is maintained.”

Notes to Editors

About the Doing Business report series

For more information about the World Bank Group's Doing Business reports, please visit

About Russell Bedford International

Established in 1983, Russell Bedford International is a global network of independent firms of accountants, auditors, tax advisers and business consultants. Ranked amongst the world’s leading accounting and audit networks, Russell Bedford is represented by some 600 partners, 5000 staff and 290 offices in more than 100 countries in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. Russell Bedford International is a member of the IFAC Forum of Firms - an association of international audit networks, whose goal is to promote consistent and high quality standards of financial reporting and auditing practices worldwide.


Kempton Bedell-Harper
Russell Bedford International
T: +44 20 7410 0339
Russell Bedford International
Kempton Bedell-Harper
+44 20 7410 0339