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How To Master International Multi-Currency Accounting

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If you’re able to scale your business internationally and join the global stage, you’re already doing a lot right. The truth is, once you’re ready to hit the big time, dealing with business-critical challenges is part of your day-to-day. Maybe you’ve settled into an effective routine.

One thing we’ve learned is that the startups that make it to series C (just 7%!) have one thing in common: their founders and finance leaders never fall victim to complacency. That’s why we’re here to talk about how to build robust, scalable accounting processes for international expansion. Today, we’re going to explore multi-currency accounting, the last chapter in our series on international billing and monetization.

As a refresher, we’ve gone over how software minimizes the complexity of international billing and monetization, then explored how companies can ensure international e-invoicing compliance. This blog will complete the trilogy and focus on summarizing the key challenges and solutions of “International accounting when handling multiple currencies”.

It’s a fact, international accounting is incredibly complex—but this is exactly where software can help you find a competitive advantage. Leading multi-currency accounting software can enable you to improve your accounting and financial reporting processes scale. It prevents errors, reduces manual efforts, and ensures timeliness and accuracy.

Let’s look at how you can implement software for your international business to meet accounting and financial reporting requirements in multiple currencies.

What international accounting challenges must companies overcome?

It’s exhilarating to take the leap into the world of global commerce and international expansion, but you can’t simply sit back and leave your financial process as is, you need to plan for many upcoming obstacles. Specifically, you need to jump over two major accounting hurdles: multi-currency accounting and segmenting financial reports.

So, how can you do this? More specifically, how can you bound over these hurdles while preserving your accounting team’s sanity?

Multi-currency accounting

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Multi-currency accounting might be a headache, but it’s well worth the hassle

It’s traditionally been incredibly tedious for global enterprises to accurately report revenue across different markets when dealing with multiple ever-adjusting currencies. Billing document currencies differ from the organization’s general ledger currency and on top of that foreign exchange rates come into play—meaning the valuation of one transaction may change over time as the exchange rate fluctuates.

Imagine you’re a German company whose general ledger is in euros, but you sell an item to a US-based customer for $100. When the invoice was created, $100 amounted to 95€—but when your customer pays 2 months later, the same $100 only amounts to 92€ due to exchange rate fluctuations. In other words, your company has lost 3€ due to no fault of its own, which you must then recognize as a currency loss in the foreign currency booking.

While the above scenario is obviously an issue, it doesn’t mean you should stop billing and invoicing customers in different currencies—far from it. Having an international approach (complete with billing and invoicing in different languages and currencies) is a huge competitive advantage.

Fortunately, software like Nitrobox can help you when it comes to handling and booking accompanying currency fluctuations. Here’s how.

Evaluating positions and booking currency fluctuations

It’s obvious, but companies must evaluate foreign currency positions in their base currency. Taking the above example, you need to account for the dollars you receive from US customers in euros. That’s why Nitrobox’s platform automatically values foreign currency bookings in your G/L currency configured in your Nitrobox account.

Therefore, if your base currency is euros, all other currencies you receive (whether American or Australian dollars, British pound sterling, Swiss francs, or Japanese yen) will instantly be valued in euros without you needing to lift a finger.

Related entries are then cleared once an OPOS (Open Position) is balanced. However, suppose the Nitrobox system detects a difference between the functional values on the debit and credit side. In this case, it will automatically post the difference to your defined currency gain or loss account before balancing the closed OPOS.

Manage currency exchange rates

The next thing regarding multi-currency accounting is currency conversions. Conversion rates allow you to value your foreign currency position for accounting purposes while ensuring you can appropriately handle any currency fluctuations. Fortunately, you don’t need to become a forex expert, you just need to dive into the Nitrobox platform.

So, how can you use currency exchange rates within Nitrobox?

There are two options. First, you can either provide your own currency rates via API, configuring custom APIs in our Webportal for currency conversion. Head to Nitrobox documentation for more information on how to complete this process.

Second, you can instead use the daily currency exchange rates directly from the Nitrobox platform—these are sourced compliantly directly from financial data providers and banks (including the European Central Bank). To gain an at-a-glance view of the current exchange rates, dive into the ‘Exchange rates menu item. Pretty logical, right?

Note: Whether you choose to provide your own exchange rates or use the rates Nitrobox sources, the platform will always apply the latest, most accurate available rate during the valuation process. For example, if you complete a sale on the 1st of June but the customer only pays on the 1st of July, then the system will apply the foreign exchange rate from when the transaction is processed (i.e., the 1st of July).

Segmenting financial reports by country or by market

Businesses must segment their financial reports for compliance and tax purposes, specifying which currency and in which country the sales were made. But segmenting financial reports can become a tiresome, confusing process when you’re grappling with multiple international markets simultaneously and doing it without a dedicated tool or automation. Working hard won’t cut it when you’re grappling with multiple global markets—you need to work smart instead.

Software like Nitrobox allows you to create your own flexible reporting, which can be associated with a specific currency or market. As a simple example, a usage-based electric charging service in England is in a different market than one in Germany, and it should be easy to report on these differences. That’s why Nitrobox’s flexible booking engine enables you to configure your bookings in whatever way makes the most sense to you.

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Take control over your global financial reports in a single source of truth, like Nitrobox

It’s time to implement multi-currency billing software

Multi-currency accounting can be an endlessly complex process. However, by implementing a monetization platform like Nitrobox, your company can segment financial reports by country or by market for both compliance and tax purposes. Put simply, you can remove unnecessary complexity from running a global business.

Automate your international billing, payment, and accounting at scale. If you’re struggling to get started as you look to scale your business internationally, consider scheduling a demo to learn more about how Nitrobox can simplify your multi-currency international accounting in the blink of an eye.