First of all, we would like to point out that company registration in Serbia is highly recommendable! The country’s economy is on an upward trend, and Belgrade is a point of attraction for local and foreign businesses that come here to take advantage of pro-business laws, European-quality services at affordable prices, beneficial taxes, high-quality workforce, and excellent banking services. Serbia is on the verge of joining the EU and it does its best to comply with all requirements and develop all the spheres in the right way.
If you want to read more about this highly popular Balkan destination, welcome to our site. We have a local office in Belgrade, and our experts share useful tips on business and banking in Belgrade, relocation, taxation, accounting, investments, and much more. You can also book a session with our expert (the initial one is free!) to discuss the prospects of business in Serbia and find the best solution. And if you need our help in setting up a company in Serbia or opening a personal or corporate account with a Serbian bank, we will be happy to help you at a reasonable fee.
Legal Forms for Non-Residents in Serbia
Here is a list of organizational and legal forms you can start in Serbia in 2023:
- Individual entrepreneur. This form is easy to register, but its main drawback is that the business owner has unlimited liability for its debts (that is, he/she is liable with all personal property). You can use a centralized registration system of the Business Registers Agency to register as an individual entrepreneur
- General or limited partnership. In a general partnership, all partners have the same rights and obligations. In a limited partnership, there is a general partner (who founded the business) and one or several business partners. A general partner has unlimited liability for the partnership’s debts, while the liability of limited partners is proportionate to their contribution to the partnership.
- Limited liability company. This type of company can be established by one person, a legal entity or an individual, who can be a resident of any country. This is the most popular legal entity, and its authorized capital is not limited in any way: you can start with 1 euro. This is an excellent choice for small and medium businesses, and you can set it up online with our help.
- Joint-stock company. This is a very good choice for large businesses, and you will need a lot of staff to set it up: directors, shareholders, a supervisory committee, a secretary, and an auditor. The minimum authorized capital is RSD 3,000,000 (approximately 25,500 euros), and 25% of this amount is required to be deposited at the time of company establishment. You can choose an open or a closed form.
- Branch/representative office. This is a structure affiliated with a larger company that operates abroad.
If you are not sure which legal form will be best for your business, please get in touch with our experts for advice.
Business in Serbia: Possible Risks
We started by recommending Serbia as a great destination for business, and it is true. And we can tell you about many more advantages at a personal session! However, a wise entrepreneur always looks at the risks, and we will not deny that they do exist in Serbia. Let’s have a look at the risks available in 2023 according to the surveys made in business communities.
The country’s inflation rate is not very low (it reached 15% in 2022), resulting in higher consumer prices and expenses. This fact had its impact on the businesses, and you may have to incur higher costs than you planned for energy, raw materials, logistics, labor, and so on.
Relations with the European Union and Workforce
Here is what the respondents noted during the survey:
- 53% of respondents complained about a shortage of qualified specialists. However, the authorities are going to solve this problem by opening the doors to foreign highly-skilled labor migrants.
- 47% of respondents fear possible deterioration of relations with the EU. This is a political risk, but it may considerably influence the inflow of investments to the country and have a negative effect on its economy. And though the relations are good, there are some possible threats, like the conflict in Kosovo or the refusal to impose sanctions against Russia, which may result in deterioration.
Here are some other risks that should also be taken into account:
- The consumer purchasing power will decrease due to possible galloping inflation
- It will be impossible to collect debts
- Interest rates will increase
- The consumer market will show a much lower demand
- There will be a considerable reduction in private investments
- Corruption that still exists in the country
To make the picture less pessimistic, we would like to note that the majority of Serbian entrepreneurs polled expect changes for the better.
Serbian Business: International Risk Assessment
Let’s take a look at the macroeconomic indicators in Serbia in 2023:
- Inflation decreased to 9.5% on average
- GDP increased by 2.3%
- The government debt rose to 55.5%
- The GDP budget balance fell by 2.7%
And here are Serbia’s strengths according to international analysis:
- The production of vegetables, grains, and fruit is considerable.
- The public sector is being reformed in coordination with the IMF.
- The automotive industry is rapidly developing.
- Serbia has concluded an agreement with the EU, so 93% of goods can be imported without customs duties.
- There are valuable natural resources in the country, such as zinc, bauxite, lithium, coal, silver, copper, lead, and gold.
As for the negative tendencies in the Serbian economy, international organizations see them as follows:
- Slow legal proceedings and corruption
- The conflict in Kosovo
- Refusal to impose sanctions on Russia
- Large informal economy sector
Once again, these indicators are not extremely bad and the situation in other countries may be much worse.
Despite all the above risks, Serbia remains a highly recommendable country for business, investment, banking, and relocation. If you want to use its opportunities, click on the above link to read more – or talk to our experts. Share your plans with us, and we will suggest the best way out!