Difference Between Branch and Subsidiary

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Branch and Subsidiary

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Establishing branches in various locations is one of the most prevalent techniques used by businesses to develop their business on a national or international scale.

Assume that anybody got registered in the company and it's doing exceptionally well. Now one will be looking for ways to expand the business. The person might want to expand but aren't sure whether the company structure is best for the operations. Alternatively, firms may refer to themselves as a "branch" or, in more formal situations, as a "subsidiary." We'll go over how branches and subsidiaries work, as well as the fundamental differences between them, in this article.

There are many different methods to structure a business. Australian enterprises can be structured as a single trader, partnership, or corporation at their most premature level. For this article, only company structures will be discussed. This includes both branches and subsidiaries as sub-categories.

Many businesses have realized the possibility of expansion. The company's expansion is the next stage for them. It is critical to find a corporate structure that is appropriate for the company's work philosophy. The most well-known corporate structures are based on both the branch and subsidiary models.

When it's time to think about global growth beyond your boundaries, there's more to consider than merely picking a country and starting a trade. Despite the growing similar governed part and complimenting stuff needs in most major financial centers thanks to globally developed regulation, the process of incorporation must begin over, with each jurisdiction having its regulations dictating what to accomplish and how to do it.

When it comes to international expansion, there are two paths a business can pursue, just like in any excellent story. Those advising the board must choose the right way for their business plan as they stand at the proverbial fork in the road, and the formation of the entity for the new market is one of the biggest and most significant decisions to make in the entire upcoming era.

The road sign at that intersection says "branch vs. subsidiary," with one road that to another one to more central control and the other to local representation. Which path the company eventually picks will have a significant impact on how it does business and expands.

As your company investigates all of the options for hiring international workers, you'll have to make a crucial decision: should you open a foreign branch or should you form a subsidiary?

In most circumstances, the answer is obvious, but there are a few crucial variables to consider if you want to make a beneficial selection for your company and its international expansion ambitions.

Branch vs. Subsidiary

Branches are extensions of the parent firm that are opened to carry out the same commercial operations as the parent company to expand its reach.

Branches are not identical to subsidiary companies. A subsidiary firm is one in which another entity, the holding company, owns a controlling share. The parent firm owns both the branch and the subsidiary company, although they are very distinct in many aspects.

The following article clarifies the differences between a company's branch and a subsidiary.

A branch is an entity other than the main Or the holding company that conducts the same business as the parent firm but in a different location. If a corporation owns and controls another company, the holding company is known as the holding company, and the firm that is owned and controlled is known as the subsidiary company.

For its activities, the branch must report to the Head Office. The subsidiary firm, on the other hand, is controlled by the holding company, which owns the majority of the stock.

The Branch office may do business in the same manner as the Head office. The subsidiary company, on the other hand, may or may not carry on the same business operations as the owning company.

A subsidiary company is a separate legal entity with a distinct identity from its holding firm, whereas a branch has no unique legal status.

A subsidiary company is a separate legal entity with a distinct identity from its holding firm, whereas a branch has no unique legal status. In the case of branches, accounts may be kept jointly or separately, whereas subsidiaries keep their independent accounts. When it comes to opening a subsidiary branch, the parent firm must invest 100 percent in establishing a branch in a different location. In contrast, to own a subsidiary firm, the parent corporation must spend between 50 and 100 percent.

The branch office's liability extends to the parent organization, which means that if the branch is unable to pay its debts, the parent company must pay them. A subsidiary firm's liabilities, on the other hand, do not extend to the parent company.

If a branch loses money regularly, it is closed down; if a subsidiary loses money regularly, it is sold to another company.

Difference Between Branch and Subsidiary in Tabular form





A branch is a location that is part of the same company and performs the same function, but in a different country.

A subsidiary is a sort of company that another company manages to control and own. A parent company is a name given to this type of business.

reporting to and receiving orders from

Head office

Parent company

Is there any legal basis for them?

The legal status of branch corporations is not distinct.

A subsidiary is legally distinct from its parent or holding firm.

Which types of accounts do they have?

Either joint or separated account

Separate account


To start a branch firm, the parent company will have to put 100% of its money into it.

To own a subsidiary, you'll need 50-100 percent of the company.

What is a Branch? 

A branch office is a site where a business is done that is not the main office. The majority of branch offices are made up of smaller divisions of the company's many departments, such as human resources, marketing, and accounting. A branch office usually has a branch manager who reports to and is answerable to a member of management at the main office.

Branch offices are beneficial because they enable various customer-specific administrative considerations to be handled closer to the client. Starbucks, for example, maintains branch offices to better support the district managers of its retail outlets in a more cost-effective manner. They can also cater to and better understand the demands of various places, such as rolling out location-specific merchandise or altering employees.

A branch is an office and an effective approach for major corporations to meet the needs of their customers for face-to-face engagement.

Depending on the demands of the company, a branch office may consist of only one person or maybe staffed.

It's not uncommon to observe numerous branches near one another in densely populated urban areas.

It may make sense to operate fewer, farther apart branches in more rural locations.

There is no one-size-fits-all plan for setting up a branch office, but several are based on geographic needs. Many clients prefer to deal with a local representative who can be reached quickly, and in densely populated urban areas, it's not uncommon to have multiple branches close together. When it comes to service-based businesses like chain restaurants, banks, and stores, this is the most prevalent scenario. Branch offices are more likely to be spread out in rural areas with lower population density.

A branch office may have a single person, or it could be staffed with several workers based on business demand. The phrase "pop-up" refers to an office or store that is only open for a limited time. It can appear one week and then vanish the next. For instance, consider Halloween costume stores.

A branch is like a plant stem or a part of something quite larger and more complicated, according to the definition. The limb of a tree is an example of a branch. A police force as part of a community's government is an example of a branch.

Branches are divided into two categories:

  • Branches that are dependent on one another. A branch that does not keep its own set of books is referred to as a dependent branch.
  • Branch with its own identity. The term "independent branch" refers to a branch that keeps its own set of books.

Opening a branch office in another country might provide the parent firm more influence. This signifies that the parent business is in charge of the branch company's activities.

In addition, the parent corporation has complete decision-making authority over its subsidiary.

It can extend access and provide goods and services for clients by establishing branches in numerous regions.

Another essential point is that the company is growing. Companies that build branches in other nations have a better probability of seeing company success. Opening a branch can boost the brand's visibility and generate more revenue for the organization.

What is a Subsidiary? 

A subsidiary is a corporation that is owned by another company, which is commonly referred to as the parent company or holding company in the corporate world.

The parent owns or controls more than half of the equity in the subsidiary company, indicating that it has a controlling interest. An owned subsidiary is one in which another company owns 100 percent of a subsidiary. When discussing a reverse triangle mortgage, subsidiaries become quite crucial.

Parent business purchases or forms a subsidiary to gain certain synergies, such as greater tax benefits, risk diversification, or assets in the form of earnings, equipment, or real estate. Subsidiaries, on the other hand, are separate legal entities from their parent firms, as evidenced by their liability, taxes, and governance independence. If a parent firm owns a foreign subsidiary, the subsidiary must abide by the laws of the nation in which it is formed and operates.

Parent corporations, on the other hand, have a lot of power over their subsidiaries because of their controlling interest. They—along with any other subsidiary shareholders, if any—vote to elect the board of directors of a subsidiary company, and there may be some overlap in board members between a subsidiary and its parent firm.

The purchase of a subsidiary interest varies from a merger in that it usually requires a lower investment from the parent firm, and it does not require shareholder approval, as it would in the case of a merger. A vote isn't required to sell the subsidiary, either.

At least 50% of a company's equity must be controlled by another business for it to be classified as a subsidiary. If the stake is less than that, the corporation is referred to as an associate or affiliate. An associate is considered differently than a subsidiary when it comes to financial reporting.

When a parent business creates or acquires a subsidiary, the subsidiary can offer taxes, risk, and assets such as earnings, equipment, or property to the parent firm.

It's crucial to understand that subsidiaries operate independently of their parent firms and have their legal entities. Their tax, responsibilities, and governance are all reflected in this. If a subsidiary is based in another nation, it must adhere to local legislation to avoid legal action.

The best reason for a parent firm to form multiple subsidiaries is to save money on taxes. In some nations, subsidiaries only pay taxes on the profit they make in that country.

The subsidiaries provide a significant value to the parent companies. If the parent company faces a possible loss, the subsidiary can be used as a liability shield to protect the parent firm from any financial losses or lawsuits.

The parent firm will not be affected if the subsidiary loses money or has legal or legal concerns.

The main difference between Branch and Subsidiary:

A branch is a section of the same company that performs the same functions, but with a location in another country. A subsidiary is a sort of company that another company manages to control and own. The parent firm is the name given to this organization.

Every decision or job done by a branch firm must be reported to the head office, whereas a subsidiary must report to the parent or holding company.

A branch does not have separate legal standing when it comes to legal standing. A subsidiary, on the other hand, is an independent legal entity with a distinct identity from the parent or owning corporation.

A branch's accounts might be either joint (from the parent firm) or separate (from the branch). A subsidiary has its account, separate from the main corporation.

For a branch to be established in a different location, the parent company must invest 100 percent. However, to own a subsidiary, the parent business must make a 50-100 percent investment.


To summarise, branches are established only to expand business coverage and streamline the distribution of goods and services. Owning a subsidiary, on the other hand, is mostly about extending the business entity by purchasing a firm that operates in a similar or different industry. The norms and regulations of the foreign country are followed by branches and subsidiaries located there.

A subsidiary firm is the consequence of a company's greater expansionist plan, whereas branches exist to expand customer reach. It's also worth noting that different countries have varied laws on the subject. Mergers are illegal in Australia, for example, if they have the effect of significantly decreasing competition. A commercial lawyer is required when opening a branch or acquiring a subsidiary.

When a firm's production increases, the next step is to expand the company and add new offices. The corporation must seek out a corporate structure that is appropriate for the work concept. For example, if the main firm opens a branch, this will help to boost revenue and provide clients with easier access to goods and services.

If the corporation establishes a subsidiary, it will do it under a different name and in a related industry. A branch is easier to start up than a subsidiary in terms of taxes. Taxpayers must fill out separate accounts and tax returns if it is a subsidiary. The overall cost will be reduced if the company opens a branch. Both of them are in a foreign country, therefore they must observe the country's norms and laws.



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"Difference Between Branch and Subsidiary." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 19 Jul. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-branch-and-subsidiary-128>.

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