While my eyes are still fresh…

I am still enjoying this honeymoon of coming to a new place, and being able to be surprised and amazed by all the things different before they become the norm. As much as I would love to be able to have this ability innate no matter where I am (which at times I do), I realize that this happens a lot more gracefully when I am in a new place…

Among the many errands I have been running since we got to Uruguay, one of the more interesting was opening my business. You must understand that opening a business in Uruguay involves three main organizations (DGI – the equivalent of IRS, BPS – similar to the social security, and the ministry of work). Thankfully, at least they all have offices in the same building. It used to be that you would have to go from one office in one part of town, to the other in another part of town, just to find out that you had missed a signature or a stamp.

But integration, at least in some form has gotten to these institutions, that unable to link their systems together, now seat to reps, one from each company in the same desk, so once one has gotten all the information into the system, the other can go ahead to replicate the process in the systems of the other entity. Not fancy, yet more streamlined that in the past… 🙂

The final step in this process is to print your invoices in an ‘official’ print shop. There are only a limited number of print shops that are registered and authorized to print invoices, and the government keeps a tight control on such documents, like the numbers and series that have been printed. In order to finalize the process, you must know the name and the RUT (which is a 12 digit number) of the printshop. Since I did not know this information of any of the authorized print shops, I went with one that had given me a little hand made flyer on my way in, which wisely included precisely the required information to complete this process.

Feeling incredibly wise and smart for having accepted such flyer (and thus avoiding having to go back and make the line again), I decided to call the print shop to take the form and request the invoices. I was surprised by the phone number area code. Totally unfamiliar. Once I found out where this was, quite far and in a part of town I had never visited before, I requested to fax the form to avoid having to go twice, only to find out that the print shop did not have one of such hight tech devices available. So there I went… I had to ask several of the people at work to kind of get a sense of how to get there.

The print shop was quite amazing. You can see it by yourself in the image below. I have to say though, the service was outstanding. Incredibly manual and all, but the rep was well informed, was very detailed oriented, and the process – which existed – included a step by step form that was handed out to minimize problems. I chose the fast delivery option (there was also regular and super fast – 2 day turn around).

The print shop I was required to use to print the official invoices required by law to operate a business in Uruguay.

As I looked at awe through the bars of the precarious window, I asked the person on the other side if they printed there. Cordially he explained that this was the issue and reception office, extending his hand through the window and pointing down to the hand painted sign on the wall. He further explained that this job would go to one of the many printing facilities the company has… All I can say is that they did deliver on time and did a great job!

To see more of my Uruguay work, click here.