Poland was ranked seventh in Europe and 12th in the world among the least business-friendly countries. It was also ranked the worst in this respect among the countries with which we border, taking into account even the war-affected Ukraine. Greece is the most difficult country in the world to do business in. These are the conclusions of the eleventh edition of the annual Global Business Complexity Index report by TMF Group, a leading provider of compliance and administration services.

The comprehensive report analyses 79 jurisdictions, which account for 93% of the world’s total GDP and 88% of net global FDI flows. It compares 292 annually tracked indicators, offering data on key aspects of doing business, including incorporation timelines, payroll and benefits, rules, regulations, tax rates, and other compliance factors.

This year’s report also includes a new jurisdiction, Saudi Arabia, which holds the 37th position in the business complexity ranking.

Including European countries, Poland ranked seventh. This is three places better than in the previous two years.

“We are seeing progress in the digitalisation of processes in Poland. This is a great convenience for investors and those doing business in Poland. One example is the ability to carry out all financial reporting activities online, in an IT service. Another example is the growing interest in the structure of the simple joint-stock company (PSA) introduced just over two years ago, which only needs PLN 1 in capital to set up and is characterised by simple rules regarding management structures or liquidation. The time of turmoil associated with the introduction of the “Polish Order” has also passed, which is being welcomed by those running businesses with relief and improving sentiment.” – presents examples of positive changes in doing business in Poland Joanna Romańczuk, Head of CEE Market at TMF Group. for Central and Eastern Europe, presents examples of positive changes in doing business in Poland.

At the same time, our country performs worst in terms of ease of doing business compared to our neighbouring countries (excluding Belarus, not listed in the ranking), including Ukraine.

“The country’s position in the ranking is determined both by the complexity of the internal rules of doing business, but also by how other countries in the list deal with such problems. While we see positive impulses in Poland, our neighbours are doing a better job of making it easier to set up and run a business. This is even true of war-ridden Ukraine. Ukraine is a candidate country for accession to the European Union. As a result, the government is making things easier for businesses. The pace of reform is very fast. For example, there are no penalties for self-correction of tax returns. Attractive solutions for business are being implemented, for example in the field of IT, such as favourable tax conditions and automatic protection of intellectual property rights” explains Joanna Romańczuk.

TMF Group experts point out that entrepreneurs in Poland are burdened by, among other things, the need to report the same information repeatedly to many different institutions and the volatility of regulations that has been accompanying them for years, such as the announcement of the introduction of the National e-Invoice System (KSeF), followed by the postponement of its implementation in a situation when many large organisations have incurred large expenditures to adapt to its implementation.

Among the countries where it is most difficult to do business, European countries lead the way, with Greece swapping first place with second-placed France in this year’s list. Just behind them are Colombia, Mexico and Bolivia, respectively. In Europe, it is also more difficult to run a business than in Poland in Italy, Belgium, Spain and Croatia.

The best in the world at eliminating obstacles to doing business are the Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Denmark, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Among the countries where it is easiest to do business in Europe, in addition to Denmark, which has been ranked on the top of the list in this category for many years, are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Malta and Ireland.

– Last year, I gave the examples of Denmark, which for years has been one of the world’s leading business-friendly countries, or the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Malta, and this year also the Czech Republic, which show that in Europe we can be very business-friendly, even competing with the United States in this respect. I don’t think anyone doubts that it would be good for Poland to join the group of leaders in this respect in the next few years.” – concludes Joanna Romańczuk.

GBCI 2024 also identifies the key themes shaping the global business landscape and regulatory environment:

The impact of global regulatory compliance on foreign investments

This year’s edition of the GBCI highlights that most jurisdictions expressed confidence in legislation stability across the next five years, representing a continued upward trajectory on previous years. In 2020, for example, just 35% of jurisdictions predicted it to be likely that there would be no significant change in legislation. Year on year, the sense that no significant change will occur has increased, reaching 58% of jurisdictions in 2024.

The report suggests that rather than the amount or complexity of legislation posing a challenge, it is instead the speed with which regulatory changes are introduced where the true difficulty lies.

Geopolitical factors and bridge economies

Geopolitical instability is evidently impacting the flow of trade and investment choices globally. Whilst energy prices remain high, disruption of supply chains and trade barriers also pose a considerable challenge for global players. As a result, many companies are reviewing their potential growth plans and expansion goals for the longer term.

However, whilst geopolitical issues may disrupt supply chains or create trade barriers for some jurisdictions, other jurisdictions are finding themselves benefitting from a global shift. Due to their neutrality on global issues, countries known as ‘bridge countries’ are able to benefit from moves away from established power blocs. For these ‘bridge countries’, their newly established position in the global supply chain has become a key way for multi-national businesses looking to manage their risk in a period of international instability.

Uncertain times and strategies for success – technology and staff retention

Although jurisdictions named a variety of factors that impact growth, IT and technology topped the rankings as most influential. Technology offers growth in multiple ways as it can provide growth opportunities where countries possess technological manufacturing expertise and can increase their market share through production. Using technology to boost productivity was also identified in relation to workforce streamlining. Multiple jurisdictions, including New Zealand and Hong Kong, SAR, were seeing companies automating back-office, entry level and part-time jobs using generative AI to keep workforce numbers low and focus on higher value tasks.

At the same time, a large majority of jurisdictions are finding it challenging to attract and retain talent (78%) – with this number even higher for EMEA (90%) and APAC (79%) regions.

The ability to effectively respond to demand is largely dependent on two dynamics: local labour laws and regional talent. Jurisdictions with tight labour laws and a strong union presence – or those with a shortage of available talent – are much less able to adapt staffing levels responsively.


  • TMF Group

    TMF Group is a leading provider of critical administrative services, helping clients invest and operate safely around the world. Our 9,100 experts and 120 offices in 85 jurisdictions worldwide serve corporates, financial institutions, asset managers, private clients and family offices, providing the combination of accounting, tax, payroll, fund administration, compliance and entity management services essential to global business success. We work with 60% of the Fortune Global 500 and FTSE 100, and almost half the top 300 private equity firms, covering sectors as diverse as capital markets, private equity, real estate, pharmaceuticals, energy and technology. TMF Group – we make a complex world simple.