This year, world trade is expected to jump by 9.5 percent, the World Trade Organization forecasts. That’s great news, considering that it contracted by 12.2 percent last year.
At the same time, managing cross-border transactions can present challenges for accounts payable departments. For instance, who would know that payment information for transactions in Japan has to be provided in Katakana, a Japanese writing system, according to this presentation by Citibank? What’s more, many of the international trade resources available online focus on exporting. While the information is important and there’s no doubt that exports are critical to the economy, it’s of little use to an AP manager who is trying to figure out how to pay a supplier located on the other side of the globe.
That said, a number of resources can help you get a handle on international payments. Listed below is a sampling:
1) A paper, “Tips for Competitive Payment Terms in Global Markets,” by Inga Fisher Williams, a regional export finance manager with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
2) From the Bank for International Settlements, “A Glossary of Terms Used in Payments and Settlement Systems.”
3) Also from the Bank for International Settlements, “Statistics on Payment and Settlement Systems in Selected Countries.”
4) The website of FITA, the Federation of International Trade Associations, contains links to many other resources on doing business internationally