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How Payment Technology Can Facilitate Your Projects Around The World

Cheryl Girling January 2, 2017


Every business knows that timely, accurate payments are the backbone of their organization. Whether you are paying employees, contractors or vendors, establishing a trusted relationship is critical to ensuring productivity and the long-term viability of your company. Yet, when expanding operations abroad, especially on a project by project basis, the challenges to achieving this goal increases tenfold. Not only must you manage the logistical complexities of hiring short-term, professional labour, alongside coordinating with international vendors to deliver correct materials, but you must also take into account each country’s differing tax regulations, payment routing rules and exchange rates. In the past, ensuring consistent visibility over all these factors was no easy task, but, with today’s advancements in payments technology, it is possible to identify solutions to facilitate the process.


Coordinating through Regulatory Complexity

Every country has its own complex and frequently obscure web of payment routing rules and regulatory requirements. Whether it be appropriate supporting documentation, correctly formatted International Bank Account Numbers (IBAN) or Tax IDs, having the required information on hand is crucial to ensuring timely international payments. In most countries, if even one piece of this key information is omitted, funds will not be credited to the recipient’s account, causing significant overhead costs on investigations and damage to your reputation with vendors abroad. Today, thanks to substantial innovations in technology, processes can be improved to indicate all the information required to make a successful payment. A robust currency management system, supported by an expert operational and compliance team, will provide you with the real-time country bank validation tools necessary to identify in advance the fields required to carry out a prompt payment in each country.


Eliminating Manual Intervention

Coordinating payments is no easy task. Even transactions to domestic accounts require staff to key-in considerable complex data, leading inevitably to a certain number of errors. Add to this the need to communicate with multiple different international banks and navigate unique validation procedures, and the likelihood of costly human error is even higher. The right payment solution will integrate with your existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. It should offer the flexibility to facilitate international vendor payments through different bank accounts, using a single file to incorporate multiple currencies. In this way, a more efficient and streamlined straight through payment process is established, decreasing the need for manual intervention and, therefore, the number of errors.


Mitigating the Effects of Mark-Ups and Fees

The costs of paying contractors, vendors and construction teams abroad can rapidly add up. Your organization may have the banking relationships in place to deliver international payments to mature markets, such as North America and Europe. However, when branching out with projects in emerging markets like Latin America, Asia and, to a lesser extent, Africa, you may find that you can no longer rely on that single provider. Typically, this has meant deciding between using foreign exchange transfers, with high pricing mark-ups, and establishing a partnership with a new in-country provider, involving expensive fees and supplementary costs from intermediary institutions that help the bank process your payments. A reliable payment provider, with the right global footprint and international banking relationships, will provide you with the in-country liquidity you need, allowing you to bypass both these unattractive and costly options. Working with your company, the provider should ensure that transparent pricing with no exurban foreign exchange (FX) fees is built-in to your service agreement. They should also be able to deliver your vendor payments through numerous channels, including SWIFT, Low-Value delivery (ACH, SEPA, BACS, etc.) and other in-country channels, via the strong network they have developed, reducing the cost of each payment.


Securing Visibility Across Accounts

As we’ve already discussed, coordinating projects around the globe can present a significant logistical challenge. Managing not only the operational hurdles of communicating with foreign contractors and vendors, but also the financial complexities of tax regulations, foreign currency balances and financial risks can be a time-consuming and costly balancing act. The ideal payment solution will offer the scalability to set up an internal hierarchy with a birds-eye view between your head office and your international projects. With this visibility, you can then manage exposures, incoming and outgoing funds and foreign currency balances for all these locations on a single platform. In addition, this functionality delivers the ability to share beneficiary information among groups, synchronizing the entire payment stream across the board.

Ultimately, finding the right solution provider will stand you in good stead to optimize the efficiency and productivity of your organization’s international projects, saving you valuable staff time and money.  Look for a solution with the scalability, tools and strong international banking network to help facilitate your work abroad. In the end, though, make sure you choose a provider with strong 24/7 customer support and comprehensive compliance procedures in place. While technology will help deliver your international vendor payments punctually and accurately, you must be able to rely on your provider’s high-touch customer service and expert compliance team to resolve any complication or compliance issue that may arise along the way.