Not all heroes wear capes.
Accountants are too busy to change their clothes in a phonebox every time there’s a problem. Also, spandex costumes are frowned upon in finance. Even on casual Fridays.
Yet the world depends on accountants to keep (the books in) order. Without them, companies would collapse, governments would fall and chaos would reign.
If you work in finance, you'll know the awesome responsibility you have. Now we need to tell you about a problem affecting millions of businesses that only you can solve.
Follow this six step guide and you can save your company a ton of money. You’ll be the hero your company needs and the one it deserves.
(Then hopefully get that promotion).
1. Know your nemesis
Charges for a UK business paying a €2,000 EUR invoice:
Most businesses rely on banks when making international payments, yet this study also found many have no idea how their bank charges for these transfers.
The truth is that banks and currency brokers make billions each year from unfair exchange rate mark-ups on international payments. Small and medium sized business are the worst hit, losing almost 10 times more than bigger businesses.
There’s a campaign to stop them, but in the meantime the problem is getting worse.
These unfair fees now cost SMEs in the UK almost £4.1 billion each year. That equates to a loss of £755 for each business.
Your company could be paying much, much more if it regularly makes international payments through a business bank account.
2. Find the solution
You could save your company a ton of money if you introduced a fair way for your finance team to make international payments without these hidden fees.
TransferWise has already been praised for revolutionising the way consumers send money around the world.
Now TransferWise for Business has been launched. It enables your company to make easy international payments using the real exchange rate, like the one you see on Google. Your company would pay the lowest possible fee and there are no sneaky hidden charges.
This makes sending money abroad up to seven times cheaper than using your business bank account.
3. Recruit allies
Batman had Robin. Bond had Q. You might need one or two people on your side too if you want to be a finance team hero.
You now have a great idea to improve your company, but the more people who buy into it, the better.
Your colleagues might have good advice about how you can convince the main decision-maker. If you have a supportive line manager then they might actually be the best person to pitch the idea.
That doesn’t mean you’ll get any less credit when your solution is a success. It means your idea has more chance of being implemented and it shows you can lead change across a team.
4. Prepare your pitch
The banks and brokers have one advantage... the status quo. They think they can get away with unfair fees and hidden markups on international payments because they’ve been doing it for a long time.
To implement change in any organisation, you need to explain how your idea supports the agenda of the decision maker. Saving money is a convincing argument, but that might not be the only thing on your boss’ mind.
It could be more helpful to emphasise the ease of using TransferWise over the more complicated process of bank transfers. Alternatively, if your company can make international payments easier and cheaper then it could open up new opportunities with new suppliers.
Make sure you take notice of what your boss talks about most. That’s their priority so build your argument around that.
Remember that every boss likes to be approached differently. For some, the best opportunity might be during a formal meeting with colleagues. Others might be more receptive during a chat over coffee.
5. Support your argument with facts
The banks don’t want you to know the real cost of using them to make international payments. But if you visit TransferWise for Business at the same time, you’ll see how much the same payment would cost at a fair rate.
Keep a record of that difference over a short period of time. You can then make solid forecasts for your boss about how much your company would save in future by using TransferWise.
Fortunately, your boss may have already heard of TransferWise. If not, you could show them how TransferWise has been described as ‘Skype for cash’ by revolutionising the way money is moved around the world.
You could also show them that TransferWise has more than 30,000 five-star reviews on TrustPilot. Few things will motivate your boss more than knowing the competition could be already using it.
You can then suggest a trial use of TransferWise for Business to see how much money - and stress - your company can save.
6. Take credit
Make sure you record the impact your idea is having on your business. You obviously want to know how much money is saved, but look for indirect measures of success too.
How much time does the team save when making international payments through your easier method? Do you have examples of international suppliers and opportunities that may not have happened without your low cost method to pay for it?
You now have a clear example of how you used your initiative to lead change. As a result of your actions, your company is more competitive and financially better off.
This can form the basis of an argument for why you should be promoted. You could do this straight after the trial has proved a success or wait for your next review. Alternatively, you can discuss what you did when you apply for your next job.
You might not get your own parade or swarmed for autographs when you leave work. But to your finance team, you’ll be a hero.