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Buying and selling internationally is a key growth strategy used by the most successful independent merchants. We can see from looking at our own customer base of retailers and wholesalers that sourcing products from overseas manufacturers directly or through marketplaces like Alibaba and then selling using ecommerce platforms is an increasingly important way they are growing their businesses.

That said even a casual look at the daily fluctuations in the foreign capital and exchange markets is enough to scare off even the most confident person. International markets feel, well, foreign. Beyond our direct influence. It can all seem very hard to predict and follow. In the last year the British Pound has dropped over 20% against the US Dollar - 7% in October alone.

So is cross border trade something you should leave to big retail, the risk takers and those with money to burn?

Not at all. While it might not be possible to control the movement of the world’s money markets you can still feel the significant benefits on your business of buying and selling internationally. But you will need help.

There are many organizations you can turn to for advice on international trade in general or even for activity in specific countries. Your bank. The embassy of the country you are considering and business organizations like the Chambers of Commerce. They are all very knowledgeable and have helped many companies just like yours find overseas suppliers or open sales channels.

Then when it comes to managing your business as your internationalize you will need to look at how you update your accounting, sales tracking, inventory and supplier management.

This is where ‘international friendly’ retail management and accounting software like Brightpearl comes in. It’s no good buying or holding onto back office accounting or retail systems that limit you to using a single domestic currency. This will quickly become a pain and lead to issues as you grow.

You also need to ensure you can open foreign currency bank accounts and connect them to your systems. You can’t limit your ability to trade with a supplier or customer by forcing them to use your ‘home’ currency or close yourself to the benefit of positive currency movements when you are ready to consider that for buying when your home currency is strong and selling when it is weaker.

Many of our competitors’ software were built for a single currency world presumably believing independent retailers aren’t interested in international trade or that they’ll pay more for additional features when they are. Worst still that they will just have to pay the bloated prices for other services targeted at the big retailers.

We’ve decided to take a different tack. We’ve now built multi-currency support as standard into our service. So with one simple subscription to our cloud service, you get great retail and inventory management plus multi-currency accounting. You decide how many countries and currencies you want to use and we’ll be right behind you as you expand. Supply side. Buy side. Ecommerce. Accounting and Reporting. One service to show you your whole business, whatever the currency.

Why on earth would you want to operate multiple systems from different vendors to enable you to trade internationally? World markets are complicated enough - your retail systems and accounting should make it easier not harder.

We’d love to tell you more about Brightpearl’s multi-currency accounting and supplier management capabilities so why not book a demo today.

Key features of Brightpearl's multi-currency accounting:

  • Brightpearl has combined retail management software with automated accounting into a single subscription-based service to specifically meet the needs of independent retailers and wholesalers. No need to buy and manage separate specialist accounting and retail management software.
  • Merchants can buy from overseas suppliers, sell to customers and bank in any currency and the activity is automatically recorded in their financial reporting. They can manage all customer and vendor accounts in any preferred currency, and recognize the value of all debt directly alongside all other accounting activity in the same up-to-the-minute company-wide report. No manual translation necessary.

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About the Author

Derek is CEO of Brightpearl, responsible for the overall company strategy. Co-author of the Omnichannel Survival Guide, Derek is recognized as a leading retail expert, and his mantra is to deliver on Brightpearl’s mission to automate the back office for today’s merchants. During the 1990’s Derek founded two IT companies, including Ireland’s first online advertising agency building database driven websites and offering SEO services. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President of field sales and marketing for Norton, responsible for $1.7bn of revenue globally. Since Derek became CEO of Brightpearl in spring 2016, the company has seen significant growth in its core customer base, cementing its position as an invaluable asset for mid-sized merchants seeking a competitive edge.