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Mark Williams 2019-4-1

Helping Businesses Navigate the Complex World of International Trade

International trade is a vital part of business in the UK. Small-and-medium sized businesses (SMEs), whether importing or exporting, contribute to a vibrant British economy.  Out of all the businesses that traded internationally in 2017, 98.7% of these were SMEs, according to the Office of National Statistics.

But cross-border trade can be complex, particularly for SMEs who are juggling a multitude of other responsibilities. From managing currency fluctuations to chasing payments from international vendors and suppliers, there are a variety of concerns and considerations for businesses.

Take currency fluctuations as an example. These can have a significant impact on a business – particularly if you’re an SME where even small movement can really affect your bottom line. Over the last year, Sterling has seen a lot of volatility caused by political and economic uncertainty, which has impacted businesses across the UK, particularly those who import goods into the country. One thing is for certain: businesses should be preparing for, and managing, their currency risk strategies.

For many however, foreign exchange (FX) planning can be complicated, not least because identifying currency risk is challenging in itself. An important step towards robust FX planning and management is understanding the wider environment in order to be able to forecast rates and take steps towards addressing any predicted volatility.

At Western Union Business Solutions, we help businesses across the UK to manage the complexity of FX planning and cross-border payments. Here in the greater Merseyside area, I work with businesses to help them find solutions to the challenges they face in trading across Europe and beyond. I’m based here in the region and have over a decade of experience in the financial services industry and I work to provide bespoke solutions for my clients.

Getting out and about to meet people is one of my favourite parts of the job. It’s crucial for me to understand what businesses are saying, to understand the challenges they are facing and to look for opportunities to help them achieve their goals. Once I have a clear picture of what a company wants to achieve, we can together build a strategy that helps them get there – whether that involves stimulating international growth, mitigating currency risk, or increasing efficiencies. Essentially, I aim to reduce the time businesses spend on their day to day administrative tasks, like watching the currency markets, to free up their time to focus on their priority growth area.

Right now, I’m working with numerous members of the Downtown In Business network, and I am keen to speak to more businesses within the community to see how I can help them make the most of the opportunities available to them in 2019 and beyond.

“Western Union Business Solutions are showing our members that implementing a strategic approach to planning your foreign exchange requirements can have a real benefit to the ability of businesses to manage risk and uncertainty in the current climate.” - Frank McKenna, CEO and founder of Downtown In Business

If you would like to arrange a discussion with Mark, he can be reached via email at mark.williams@westernunionbank.com or by ‘phone at 07889 303 436.