Jan 16, 2020 | Risk Management

Dealing with companies overseas

When you are dealing with overseas suppliers, employees or customers, it can be a challenge to keep a finger on the pulse when you need to track payments, receipts, exchange rates and transaction fees. Technology can provide a solution, and also make life easier in other ways.

The world has never been more accessible. We are living in a global village, which means that for businesses, it has never been more likely that they will become involved in international transactions. This is great for growing the business, but it can lead to headaches as the amount of paperwork grows and the need for closer control increases.

Keeping track of cashflow

When transactions are carried out in another currency, moving exchange rates can mean that you don’t always know how much you are paying or receiving in your own currency. Invoices can cost more than you forecast, making it difficult to manage cashflows and budgets.
On top of this, it is important that you know how much you are paying in transaction fees. With some payment partners these are transparent, but with others, you may need to work harder to find out how much it is costing you. All of this means tracking is essential, and this can be time-consuming.

Ensuring the technology meets your needs – a checklist

When choosing a payments provider, ensuring that they have the right technology in place should be a key factor in your decision-making. You need a platform which is going to be simple to use and which will give you the data you need to make informed decisions as well as knowing exactly what is happening with your transactions.

Real-time information

You should have online access to your payments in real-time. You want to have up-to-date information just when you need it.


The technology should integrate with your accounting package, so you can import payment invoices and automatically reconcile them back into your accounting system. It should reduce significantly the amount of time taken to send transactions.


You will need a dashboard of instant information to conduct quick and easy analysis of your transactions, and budgeted rates to help maximise your cash flow. You will also want to be able to pull down reports and statements for more detailed analysis.


Some platforms allow you to connect with your trading partners, and even find new ones. You can capture, submit, track and pay invoices with your partners in-platform, avoiding spreadsheets and email overload.

Analysis and insights

Advanced technology platforms provide forecasting tool and customisable reporting, so you can really understand your cash flow and identify trends. You should be able to review your transaction history and the impact of currency fluctuations to conduct ‘what if’ analysis of your budgets, and make powerful, informed business decisions.

Customer support

The platform should provide a central hub for your account information and enable you to easily access your account documents. Most importantly, you should have access to fast online support for all account queries, and be able to track their status and resolution.

Above all, the technology platform you choose should enable your business to grow and thrive. It should simplify what you do, save you time, and give you powerful knowledge and insight to keep improving the way you do things.

Western Union Business Solutions – putting SMEs in control of their international transactions

Western Union can service over one hundred and thirty currencies in two hundred countries / territories, with sport rates that fit business needs, optimal routing and low-cost transfers as well as a globally leading online platform which not only facilitates online payments and bulk upload but will also give real time twenty-four hour access.

With a highly qualified team of currency experts and a service tailored specifically to the needs of SMEs, they help to protect the profits of international businesses from currency fluctuations, with a range of hedging tools and strategies. With their wide range of foreign exchange services, actionable analysis and decision support tools, they give SMEs more transparency and control over their foreign exchange and international payments.