International trade? It’s essential for business success and survival.
By Michelle Nicol
11 September 2017
Aesara Partners, London and Paris
Aesara Partners offers executive coaching, leadership development and consultancy services to businesses in 15 different countries around the world. Executive coach and consultant Jodie Gibbons, says choosing software that made working in different currencies easy and efficient, was crucial to the business.
Aesara made the decision to use TidyWork to manage quality control and efficiency across their business. They knew that software also had to be multi-currency capable. “It was the deciding factor,” Jodie explains. “We’re connecting with Xero as our accounting software and we were very much looking at Workflow Max as the software we were going to use. The deciding factor in using Tidy was the currency piece, without question.”
Jodie says: “I would be disappointed if it didn’t save me 25% of my time spent on managing clients and client services around invoicing.” Jodie explained: “From my point of view and for coaches who travel a lot, it just makes it a lot easier that the system automates all of that. I don’t have to think about whether I’m doing a quote in Euros or Pounds. I track my hours against it, I put in my expenses and choose what currency and it’s very easy and efficient. And I think it massively reduces the margin for error.”
The link with Xero accounting software also offers efficiency and costs savings, as Jodie explains: “I am going to hire one less person from an accounting perspective because of this system. I am expecting that the quoting and invoicing process for the coaches will be so much more empowered.”
Having the flexibility to manage prices and costs in different currencies is key to Aesara’s business strategy: “With Brexit, we’ve made a strategic decision that we will offer our clients the option to invoice in Euros or Pounds,” says Jodie. “We want to send a very strong message to Europe that we’re an international business.”
Espresso Road Ltd, New Zealand
Espresso Road imports the world’s best espresso machines from Italy and Germany and the spare parts to keep them going, so coffee loving Kiwis can enjoy the great taste at home, or on the go. To importers and retailers like Espresso Road, multi-currency management is key and their system, TidyStock, helps keep track of over 1,500 product lines ranging from washer rings which cost a few cents to motors and pumps for to new commercial coffee machines used by baristas, costing hundreds of Euros but sold locally in Dollars.
Being able to see how changes in exchange rates affect costs, is vital to running a profitable business as owner Duane Baguley explains: “Six months ago, the exchange rate for Euros to New Zealand dollars was around 64/65 cents and now it’s 60 cents. So, the cost of buying the goods in Euros hasn’t changed, but it’s had an impact on our [local] costs.”
To manage the business, a system capable of easily managing stock priced in different currencies was essential says Duane: “TidyStock gives me the transparency to see that, so that if we do need to make decisions about what we are charging for those goods, we don’t get caught out.”
Duane explains how TidyStock helps with inventory management: “When we’re trying to manage 1,500 different stock lines, making sure we’ve always got stock in hand and aren’t over ordering, and all our purchases are in foreign currency, there’s a lot to think about. We like to keep things pretty simple. TidyStock is very easy to use, to navigate around and it just works.”
He continues: “You don’t want to expect a certain margin and then suddenly that doesn’t happen. That’s when you start to see an impact on your cash flow and profitability.”
There’s a coffee shop or bar for every 273 people in New Zealand, so Espresso Road has a great opportunity to grow its business through making coffee parts available to a wider range of businesses.
“The next big thing for us is creating an online ordering system for our trade customers,” says Duane. “We want them to be able to see all our products at a glance and easily order them. It’s about trying to make it as simple as possible for our customers to get what they need and to make picking and packing those items far simpler.”
Professional Fabrication Services Ltd (PFS Ltd), Wales
Professional Fabrication Services Ltd (PFS Ltd) is an engineering, welding and fabrication business that grew out Rio Tinto’s decision to close their aluminium smelting plant in Holyhead, North Wales. After introducing Xero to manage their finances, PFS added TidyEnterprise in 2016 to help manage projects and costs.
Currently they work on mainly UK based projects, but Managing Director, Martin Davies has a vision to grow the business: “We would be more comfortable entering the international market place now that we have the right systems in place.”
"In the old days, using spreadsheets and bits of paper and whatever else when charging out to clients, we would sometimes feel like we were over charging or under charging clients, and that wasn’t a comfortable place to be in. Now, because everything is logged in TidyEnterprise, we know that what we’re charging is a genuine figure. And that would apply to international clients as well.”
Working with clients in the marine and nuclear industry, PFS has grown by three major jobs this year, including manufacturing four vessels for the British navy’s aircraft carrier. Martin explains how TidyEnterprise helps him focus on productivity: “It shows what I had planned to spend, what extras I’m spending, whether I’m profitable or not, based on set costs for labour.”
It also helps him challenge increased costs from suppliers: “It shows me what I previously paid for an item when I request that item again from a stockist,” Martin says. “As most of our work is fixed price, we’re able to be more rigorous in how we price it.”