International Payments and Expenses Part 2: Market Analysis

Date
25 August

Author
Jamie Allen

In our last blog, we discussed some of the issues facing businesses around international payment and FX management, including how a reasonable amount of money can be wasted when paying international suppliers or handling employees’ international expenses if you don’t shop around.

In the world of currency payments, some businesses may use a payment broker or a larger international bank, such as Western Union or Goldman Sachs, to cover their foreign currency needs, but it is not hugely common. This is often as business owners might not see payments as a risk area in their business and therefore not prioritise this unless you work in the Financial Markets industry. Also, a lot of these solutions tend not to be integrated into your accounting solution. As such, it can be difficult to see any obvious efficiency gains for using a broker if you do not execute high volumes of FX transactions. It can be seen to be creating a new system/account and item to maintain which staff assume will create additional work.

This is likely why companies such as Revolut have historically focused more on the private individual market and Pleo have focused more on the management of and efficiency of processing reimbursable business expenses rather than treasury and cash management. It is understandable that making this process more efficient could be more enticing to a wider market than focusing solely on saving on bank charges. But it seems this might be changing now. Revolut have made strides into the B2B market and Pleo have received significant investment and decided to help businesses in the payments space through the forging of some new partnerships.

As and when international travel does return, and I believe most would hope this is soon, using international card providers will save money as essentially free debit cards can be connected to multiple currency accounts, meaning you can avoid unnecessary currency charges. Revolut look well placed with their new functionality to help in this area and also offer international transfers and expense management tools.   

It can also be a very time-consuming process collecting business expenses from employees and ensuring they are correct. There are mechanisms that exist to automate the collection of expense claim forms and ensuring all the documentation is attached and embedded as a photo, thus creating a clear auditable trail and records with minimal staff input. If this is a particular bug bear in your business, Pleo’s USP is streamlining and automating the expenses process for employees/managers, providing real-time tracking for leaders, and automating bank reconciliations for finance professionals.

Interested in learning more about our solution? Stay tuned for our last article of the International Payments and Expenses series and find out how 4PointZero can help your business. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at https://4pointzero.co.uk/

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